EDITOR, The Tribune.
LAST week, Mr Doug Manchester, the nominated Ambassador to The Bahamas, made remarks to the USA Senate Committee vetting his selection by the Hon. President Donald J. Trump. Mr. Manchester referred to The Bahamas as ‘a protectorate’ of the United States of America. Members of the committee, as many Bahamians, were taken aback by that ‘innocent’ description. The reactions, both in the USA and here in our nation (not protectorate) were swift and almost brutal.
I do not know the Ambassador Designate but, from what I have been able to google and research about Mr Manchester, he is an astute businessman; husband and father. He earned his multi-million dollar portfolio the hard way.....he worked for it. There is no hint of public scandal attached to his name and he is pro business. He’s never been the rank and file politician and, as far as I am aware, he is not a trained lawyer or legislator.
Doug ‘Papa’ Manchester referred to our nation as a ‘protectorate’, innocently and with no known ulterior motives, to my knowledge. The Bahamas, as we all know, is not an actual protectorate, in the ordinary sense of the word. If one were to closely examine the relationship between our two wonderful nations, it would readily be agreed that the USA is, in fact, our ‘protector’. That does not, strictly speaking from a constitutional point, makes us a ‘protectorate’. It is also to be agreed that the USA is, like it or lump it, our big brother and literal protector.
Decades ago, when Cuban MiG jets attacked our Defence Force, the USA was the first country to come to our defence. Way back in the 1930’s during the Great Depression the USA offered our people, especially the low income persons, an opportunity to travel to the now fable ‘Contract’ where those selected were able to live and work in the USA while remitting funds back to The Bahamas. The vast majority of our university graduates would have gone to one in the USA. Today, tens of thousands of Bahamas, illegally and legally, reside and work in the USA seeking a better way of life for themselves and family.
Our second home industry is dominated by citizens of the USA. Grand Bahama was conceptualized; developed and built by Wallace Groves, a citizen of the USA. Paradise Island (a/k/a ‘Hog Island’ ) before it became Atlantis was also rolled out, big time by USA investors. The USA also is intimately involved with The Bahamas on many bilateral matters; inclusive of illegal migration; drug interdiction; human smuggling and, of course, military and defense cooperation (OBAT); Coast Guard protection and availability during natural disasters. The USA has always been ‘our protector’ in more ways than one.
I for one, hope that Mr. Manchester is approved and sworn in as the USA’s Ambassador to The Bahamas. We have been without a continuous ambassador for a long time. This man has already laid out some of his plans to improve and enhance relationships between our countries. All of the “displeasure” over Papa’s description is “much to do about nothing”.
Let’s pray that he is confirmed and that he, who by the way has the ear of President Trump, will assist us in ushering in a new golden and pro business relationship. God knows that we need all of the foreign investment and financial assistance that we are able to get. While I ‘love’ the Chinese people and their food, I’d prefer for the USA to remain our big brother and, of course, our protector.
ORTLAND H. BODIE, JR
August 4, 2017