It’s the holidays and that means we get to rub our hands together, scratch our chin, ponder awhile and pronounce who’s been naughty and who’s been nice in 2016.
We know that with millions of people scattered all over the world, you do not have time to check every one of them yourself. So we hope this little guide helps.
Of course, we are mightily tempted to start with those local politicos who have us dancing through hoops and guessing at their plans because we in the Bahamas believe the world revolves around us and there is nothing more important on the entire planet than whether or not a local political party is fractured or can pull it together to provide a little honest competition prior to a general election.
But the reality is that, much as we love ourselves and our country, there is a whole big world out there, Santa, so we will start with who deserves praise and who should get a big fat spanking this year. Then we will turn the topic back to whose front room you should visit while you are dashing through the sands of the Bahamas.
Who leads the list of the naughties?
No inhumanity since the Holocaust has been more heinous, more horrific than Aleppo, the Syrian city under siege where many have seen family members slaughtered before their eyes, a city that is running out of food and water and hope. Blocks of ancient buildings are dust-sodden tons of rubble.
Even as news of the end of fighting reaches us as we write this today, there is little left to pray for. Sadly, there is no place for you to stop in Syria, Santa, despite all the attempts by Americans and others to rescue the oppressed. Let us check back next year to see if a new post-rebels Syria emerges.
Santa, please feel free to skip settlements and cities in parts of Central America where cruelty abounds, where women and children are routinely kidnapped, raped and sold into sex slavery. And Rudolph and the other reindeer can skip the rooftops of those who killed unarmed black men in America.
Speaking of America, we don’t even begin to know what kind of advice to give you when it comes to a president-elect who has named as his choice for head of the Environmental Protection Agency someone who is suing the agency. Maybe you can drop an iceberg with a message about climate change down what would surely be the biggest chimney of any hotel anywhere in the world and make the understanding of the importance of climate change great again.
Locally, who are the nice?
Surely, beyond the sadness of the past year, Santa, we want you to know that there are so many who have been nice and they deserve your attention.
We start with a man in The Bahamas by the name of Frank Crothers. He founded the Bahamas Feeding Network which now helps 130 churches, soup kitchens and feeding centres that feed the hungry every week. With his dedicated sidekick Philip Smith, who has been feeding the hungry for a decade, he is helping all those who are working together to wipe out hunger.
If you have time to cast a smile on a few corporate citizens, may we suggest Abaco Markets for the work they do with fighting hunger and Commonwealth Bank for its hurricane relief programme and its half million donation to fight cancer? Oh, and please remember Earla Bethel for her McGoodness in everything she does. There are lots of others, too.
We think, Santa, you will want to stop by the home of Shelagh Pritchard who has a heart as big as all outdoors. And how about those HeadKnowles members who kept us informed every minute of Matthew? They could use a little love, too. There are the young people like a 15-year-old girl who works at a food store every day and every weekend to earn enough money to go to college one day but had a hard time this year because gang members bullied her so. She’s a survivor, but a little visit from you would help build her confidence. There are the Rotarians who give of themselves unstintingly. There are the brilliant among us, like Dr Nicola Virgil Rolle who guided the National Development Plan, and Khaalis Rolle whose idea the plan was.
Please stop by The Salvation Army, too, which provides food for the spirit as well as the soul.
We wanted to tell you who we thought was naughty and nice in the political world of The Bahamas but I guess you will just have to figure that out for yourself. And, if you get it, would you share it with us?