Editorial: Bahamians – Understand The Past To Find The Future

PHILIP “Brave” Davis, who now heads an Opposition of three members in an FNM parliament, although admitting that his party made mistakes during its five years in office, saw no reason to apologise to anyone for those “mistakes”. Not only was he not going to apologise, but he wanted Bahamians to note that after only three months in office the FNM have shown that they have no plans to eradicate crime.

“As the prime minister observed,” said Mr Davis, “crime continues to plague our society. During the campaign, he (Prime Minister Minnis) promised that they had the answers, that once in government, he and his team would unveil a crime-fighting plan, which would successfully tackle the problem.”

“Rather disappointingly, just last week we now have the Minister of National Security admitting that they don’t have the answers,” said Mr Davis. Wasn’t this the same predicament that Mr Davis and his PLP found themselves in at the end of their five year term?

So far, the PLP are cutting a very poor figure as Mr Davis, their spokesman, attempts to distort political facts. Has he forgotten that before the 2012 election the PLP erected large placards in strategic areas of the island to broadcast the growing number of murders under an FNM government? The PLP even made certain that the placards were erected in areas where the tourists — the lifeblood of this country’s economy — were made aware that the Bahamas was no longer a safe place to visit. A comment made at the time by then Prime Minister Christie seemed to indicate that such empty promises could get a pass during election season even though advertising crime so blatantly might damage our tourist industry

Bahamians, by then desperate to be able to sleep at night without their homes being desecrated or being awakened by gun fights, wanted any political party that could remove the criminals from their midst. The PLP made a solemn promise - no ifs, ands or buts about it – they had the secret formula to eradicate crime. They were elected on their promise — to hear them tell it during the campaign, it was more than a promise, it was a guarantee. A guarantee when once elected they found they could not deliver, because they had no secret formula. They had fooled the people. It was then that crime really took off, formula or no formula, there was no stopping it.

Instead of beating his own chest with many mea culpas, Mr Davis astonishingly now tries to point an accusing finger at the FNM. “Rather disappointingly, just last week we now have the Minister of National Security admitting that they don’t have the answer,” says Mr Davis. At least, if this is in fact what Security Minister Marvin Dames said, he, unlike Mr Davis’ PLP, was telling the truth. If we remember correctly, the PLP maintained to the bitter end that they had the secret formula, whereas at least the FNM Minister has made no such claim. The FNM might not have the answers, but at least they are starting off in a position of “zero tolerance” — whoever does the crime, will have to do the time. It is a slow process, but in time it should pay dividends.

Mr Davis then turns to the comments by Prime Minister Minnis about providing resources for society’s “poorly guided young men” brought down by the drug trade. Mr Davis said that the Prime Minister’s attacks on the drug trade made no sense.

“The average age of people committing crimes over the last several years has been between the ages of 17-25. Those persons would not have been around in the1970s and ‘80s. The prime minister should be careful about blaming ‘history’ for all our challenges,” said Mr Davis.

What an unthinking, stupid statement. It reminds us of Topsy – that delightful little slave girl in Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stow. When asked how old she was she replied: “I s’pect I just growed. Don’t think nobody never made me.”

Well, our present generation of drug pushers did not live during the drug years, but it was certainly during those years that their embryo was formed.

If Mr Davis as a child had ever stood on the seashore and skipped a small pebble onto the surface of a calm sea, he would have seen on landing how it disturbed the water creating a small wave that would keep growing as it moved from wave to wave until absorbed into the mighty ocean, he would then understand cause and effect, and what has happened in our community. The hand of the child on the seashore was the cause and the disturbance of the calm water was the effect that kept growing until it was a mighty ocean. That, Mr Davis, is one of the laws of life, and what we have today is the result of the drug trade that took over these islands in the ‘70s and ‘80s and kept growing into today’s social menace.

Read The Tribune of those years and it is easy to trace what we have today from its early beginnings. In fact, Paul Thompson, who a few weeks ago celebrated his 90th birthday, was in the Royal Bahamas Police Force’s Criminal Investigation Department in those days. At that time, he was one of the few police officers that we could trust. One day in a conversation with him, he predicted exactly where we would be today, if something drastic were not done then. And so, like Topsy, who didn’t know when or how she was born, our criminal class just kept growing, because little was done to turn the tide in time.

We shall never forget the words of Prime Minister Pindling in his New Year’s day address in January 1986 — at the end of the Commission of Inquiry into drug peddling — when he encouraged Bahamians to take advantage of the “opportunities” provided by his Cabinet to become a millionaire. We are not suggesting that he was encouraging them to go into the drug trade, but in those days the fastest way to become a millionaire was to get into the business of drugs.

In our files, one can also find the complaints of teachers about the subject of many of their students’ essays. Seeing the extravagant lives being lived by their fathers, and uncles and friends — who only a short time before were nobodies, but were then moving in what they thought was “high society” — made them decide that that was the path they wanted to follow. Teachers were not only concerned, they were alarmed for the future.

And now here we are with the results of those years and Mr Davis is still asking why?

If Mr Davis and his party do not understand where we have come from and the major cause of our problems today, then we need a new generation of leaders who, understanding our past, might at last find a solution for our future.


baldbeardedbahamian 10 months ago

A couple of very thoughtful editorials this week. I am glad we have such a good Press in our country.


birdiestrachan 10 months ago

The PM should be very careful about placing blame and pointing fingers. Does he have a plan?**He must have been around during that time he made a choice as to what he wanted to do with his life. Many great young men and women came out of the years Mr> Pindling was in power. The Doctors and Lawyers and even employees at the banks came out of that time not only drug dealers.


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