YOUR SAY: Choose wisely when picking candidates

Your Say


IN the grand scheme of things in The Bahamas, political parties have become somewhat of a sideshow to the public expressions or shenanigans of their respective leaders. In the case of the DNA, this is certainly understandable as that party is indeed the construct of its founding and, so far, only leader, though it did arrange to attract to its list of candidates during the 2012 general elections some fine folks as candidates. But, it ought not to be acceptable to long term supporters of the FNM, a party of four decades of life, with some noted successes, under many leaders. It is particularly troublesome to supporters of the PLP – a party with a rich history of more than six decades of commitment to the struggle of all our people for better and in the forefront of many national achievements.

Political parties will shortly turn their earnest attention to the selection of candidates for elections 2017.

Our country lingers in deep trouble. I don’t believe that any objective person would deny this. These are serious economic times. Many Bahamians are hurting. Many of our communities are engulfed in criminal activity; fear is pervasive; many are concerned for their personal safety; the overall quality of public education is not good; inadequate health care still exists; the poverty level grows; the standard of living of many has regressed; illegal immigration is still burdensome; and, sadly, a tragic lack of confidence and proper investment in Bahamians still exists.

The Bahamian public is disenchanted due to the lack of meaningful relationships between many of the current politicians and their constituents. They have failed or are unwilling to fight the right battles.

If we are to come out of this malaise, all thinking and patriotic Bahamians must demand that political parties offer candidates in 2017 who are of a high standard – in ability, courage, character and commitment. They must be demonstrably stable and capable of advancing new ideas for growth. They must have a clear vision of a better Bahamas. At the end of the day, individuals who meet this broad standard are those whom the people ought to elect to Parliament. Candidates must be part of a team that is capable of forming a credible and competent government. To offer less is to insult the voter.

The people of the country must demand politicians who will fight for a Bahamas that they would be proud to pass on to future generations of Bahamians. Politicians, who are able to help make a big step forward for the young and the poor, will receive great support and much satisfaction.

The national debate leading to the elections of 2017 must be about issues which impact the lives of our people and not about the inflated ego of any party leader or the aggrandisement of any individual or a party’s privileged class. The process must not be farcical.

The promises of “putting Bahamians first” and “believing in Bahamians” can no longer be deferred. The 2017 elections must be about electing a government dedicated to working for the good of the Bahamian people above any other interests.

Incumbent MPs should examine their performances and looking deep within, do some soul searching, honestly and objectively examine whether they meet the people’s criteria to be worthy to be returned to Parliament. They, at least, owe that to the country which has given them so much.

The party with quality candidates, those who are capable of addressing the vexing problems facing the nation, should command the support of the electors. Among those problems are crime; public safety; education; health care; poverty; gender inequality; illegal immigration; economic growth and the lack of proper investment in human capital. Economic empowerment of the “average” Bahamian must be high on the action agenda. All worthy candidates must show how we will do much better in all of these areas.

In very real terms, the quality and depth of the “Team” far outweighs the importance of the leader. A talented team will prove to be the proverbial “wind beneath the wings” of an average leader producing good governance; but, an extremely talented leader will be diminished by an incompetent team, ultimately resulting in an incompetent government.

The Bahamas deserves the very best of its sons and daughters to come to the fore to lead in the task of making this, “our beloved Country”, located in the most beautiful place on earth, the great Nation it could be. There should be no room for mediocrity or second-rate performers among our leaders.

The welfare of the Bahamian people is at stake. That which is best for them must be the focus of attention of all who are in public life.

“Politics is still the greatest and the most honourable adventure.”

  • George Smith is a real estate broker and consultant. He was a Member of Parliament for 29 years, parliamentary secretary to the prime minister and a member of the delegation at the London talks on independence. He was chairman of the secretariat which directed the programme for independence, and a Cabinet minister for 11 years.


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