By NICOLE BURROWS
YOU don’t have to be a “prophet”, as some have suggested, to know that the country’s next general election in 2017 will be a significant turning point in the future of The Bahamas and everyone who calls this country home.
Unless they changed their leadership, completely overhauled their constituency candidates and provided real action plans on the way forward, neither the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) nor the Free National Movement (FNM) would get my vote in any future general election. Of course, most would interpret that to mean that the people who would get my vote would be those in association with the Democratic National Alliance (DNA). And, with my present options remaining unchanged through 2017, I admit that would be most likely.
The primary reason I would vote for the DNA is to get rid of the other two parties as the only options for guiding my country’s future. Some believe it is not at all possible for the DNA to have that much of an impact, because they underestimate the potential of the DNA to carry such large numbers of voters to create that impact; by extension, they underestimate the frustration of the people as well as the power in the “youth vote” once fully galvanised. But I think it is possible.
So, does that make me “a DNA”? I can’t say that. Because while the DNA does present a viable alternative to the others, they still have work to do in clearly delivering their mandate. There is still too much individuality in the whole body of their communications. They don’t yet speak with a resounding, unified voice.
The unclear mandate is not something exclusive to them, though; the PLP and FNM suffer the same affliction. Neither of the two larger political associations have clear, demonstrative plans on how they can or will move the country forward. I’m not talking about a sorry, nationally televised impromptu speech on crime, and I’m not talking about a 26-point reiteration of what was said before in someone’s manifesto.
These “plans” on crime are inadequate. And if you have something more adequate, why are you holding it so close? What does it take from you to disclose it? Everyone will know it came from you originally, in the event someone else claims it as their idea. Attribution aside, the kind of plan you need is a real, step-by-step plan, one that reads like an instructional manual. First, do this. Second, do that. Remove these passive words like “we aim to”, or “we believe” or “working toward”. Tell me what you are about to do. What is imminent?
Imagine you are in the frontline, you are a general in an army and you are about to lead your soldiers into battle. You are already on the ground, all you need is the charge signal. What comes next? I’m talking quick thinking ... your life depends on it. The lives of all your women and men depend on it, those on the ground and those at home. If you make the wrong decision, it could be catastrophic ... something we should already be familiar with by now.
What do you do? Tell it to me, tell it to the Bahamian people, as if it is a “how-to” manual. It can’t just be about what you intend to do. You have to fully engage your people in the immediate plan, so that they understand their vested interest in coming out of this battlefield alive. You don’t have time to consult the “what if” plan. Your people don’t have time to wait for you to ask someone what to do.
What are you going to do in this moment? You need to know, and right now!? Because what you would do right now and your ability to articulate that, not with eloquence but with active verbiage, determines how sound your thinking is, how effective your plan will be and whether we all come out of this fight better off than we went into it.
The people who can lead Bahamians like the general leads his troops into battle are the people who should lead The Bahamas. And they should get there not because they have smooth words or smooth dancing feet, not because they offer pretty faces to get the job done, not because they bully their people, but they should lead because they’ve demonstrated that they are ready to lead. And their readiness has everything to do with their ability to issue a directive and activate the boots on the ground without hesitation.
I’ve listened to the “Hard Copy” interview Greg Moss gave with Steve McKinney. I find most of what Moss says to be inspiring, but it falters on one statement. The very concept he introduces to the political discourse, re disdain for “maximum leaders”, is a bit in conflict with his own verbal disclosure on the talk show.
Now, Mr Moss is not ineloquent. He doesn’t reach for his words. He didn’t stutter. But when addressing his concern about maximum leaders, and who will become Prime Minister, he said “And, you know, I ... I certainly have a view that that is going to be me.”
Does that mean that he has already dismissed the notion that anyone he could possibly align himself with in the construction of a new party would not be a person capable of leading that party? Does it have to be Mr Moss? Does Mr Moss already believe it has to be Mr Moss? Or did he just choose the wrong, very confident words to disclose the future leadership of the new party? People call it semantics, but you need to listen carefully. What rolls quickly and easily off the tongue the first time is usually most honest.
If we can get past that
hiccup, and understand where Mr Moss is headed with the governing principles of his new party, then maybe we can get on the road to paying this man some real attention. Don’t be too quick to jump on the bandwagon, until you see this movement unfold completely. It is one that provides another alternative to the tried and oft-failed PLP and FNM, but it has to show its true self and for that a bit of time is required.
Does that mean come 2017 I will vote for Mr Moss and company instead of the larger alternative in the DNA? Not necessarily. My vote is promised to no one without them all demonstrating their legitimate and very strong action plans for governing my country. If deeply disfranchised, I could vote for an independent candidate, but what impact could that really have on the potential ruling majority? Will that serve to split the vote even more than it is already divided? Because, perish the thought of another term of Christie or PLP leadership, and perish the thought of a tentative Minnis-led FNM government whose policies and behaviour have not historically been as bad or as dubious as the PLP’s, but similar nevertheless.
Mr Moss also says, passionately, “You will see the restoration of the Homeownership Act to create a $100m fund to help those people who lost their home(s), through no fault of their own.” I take issue with this, and “mortgage relief” as it is generally espoused. Where Mr Moss is concerned, it is one of few things I don’t support on his new party’s platform.
In theory, this sounds wonderfully helpful and humane. But it’s also akin to saying to a mother of 12 that you don’t mind if you have to pay more taxes so she can feed her 12 children. Was she thinking about you when she chose to have 12 children she couldn’t afford? Or are we to believe that women can’t make such choices?
To explain, if you choose to buy a house, which is not your house until you give that bank the last penny, per your mortgage agreement, and that house costs more than you can afford, then that is your responsibility. The fact is that most houses are more than anyone can afford without a loan, yet we strive to “own” them. The truth is you live in the bank’s house. And, no matter what happens to you between the time you sign the mortgage and the time you pay off the loan, you are still responsible for paying the bank for their house.
Even “an act of God” can’t get you out of that, so imagine if all that happened was that you lost your job.
We really need to restructure the way we think of “ownership” in our society, starting with the fallacy of “home ownership”. Then, maybe we can have a more sensible discussion about how to have real ownership of real assets as real citizens of the Bahamas.
And I raise this point because I’m afraid that what Mr Moss wants to do in this instance only stands to further cripple the growth of our society. The country must endorse $100m to fund homes for the people who chose to “own a home” and live beyond their means? There’s something wrong with that, and there’s something wrong with whatever else keeps us doing that when it gets us nowhere in our struggle to be treated with respect as equal citizens of our country.
If you continue to engender this dependence on others for the basic necessities of life then what message are you really sending for the future of this country? The fact is we don’t want to have a mortgage. We don’t want to owe a bank. We want to buy a house outright from our own hard-earned money. Now, what can you offer us in the way of overhauls to our economy to facilitate that real home ownership for us?
Mr Moss, if you want to dispel the “maximum leader”, you will have a battle on your hands, because Bahamian society is built on the hyper-religion that always makes them look for one person to blame and one person to save them. We need more and different than this, from you and your new party, more than the hyper-religion, and more than appealing to the massive population of Bahamians with Haitian parentage/ancestry, if you seriously want our vote.
Bradley Roberts knows why he said what he said about Greg Moss and his chance of winning a seat in the next general election; it’s not just political nastiness. Roberts and the people who support him and his party are well aware of how Bahamian people think en masse. To change this thinking they know will require a monumental upheaval in traditional politics.
The only people who can unmount tradition and change the trajectory of this country are the young people with a modern agenda. Whose side will they be on?
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