NATIONAL Security Minister Bernard Nottage must have been carried away with the wild beat of the junkanoo drums during New Year Day’s Junkanoo Parade when he told our reporter that Bahamians would agree that the PLP government has the best policies to fight crime and improve people’s lives.
The statement was as foolish as the promise made by Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis of 10,000 jobs within the first year should the PLP win the 2012 election. Instead of providing jobs, Baha Mar collapsed and with it 2,000 Bahamian jobs were made redundant.
However, government continues to live in the hope that it can still win the confidence of the Bahamian electorate if, in the next few months, the Baha Mar resort will open and employment will start to flow. According to the Prime Minister Standard & Poor (S&P) misread the tea leaves when it kicked the Bahamas into the junk pile with a raw bone to chew on. Although Bahamians are upset by the downward spiral of its economy, Mr Christie says his administration “sits comfortable” with S&P’s announcement as it is a “simple misunderstanding with timing.” He contends that S&P sees positive economic growth on the horizon for The Bahamas, but not until 2018. Obviously, Mr Christie is putting our future in one basket — Baha Mar. Standard & Poor apparently does not have the same faith.
While in Opposition, the PLP made crime a major issue. It promised the Bahamian people that if elected in 2012 it had the solution to crime. During its 2012 election campaign it erected billboards in strategic locations declaring that under the FNM there had been 490 murders during its five year administration. The PLP promised to reduce crime if elected.
The Christie government won the 2012 election - mainly on Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis’ promise of 10,000 jobs in the first year, and the party’s assurance that it had the solution to the crime problem. However, the PLP government has had four plus years to prove its point on crime, but what are the results? From May 7, 2012 to December 2016 under the PLP there were 572 murders. Instead of going down murder was higher than for the same period under the FNM — the period on which it had focused its attention during its 2012 election campaign.
Dr Nottage must believe that the attention span of Bahamians is not only very short, but their intelligence below average. Now facing another election he comes with the same old assurance that Bahamians still believe the PLP has the best policies to fight crime and improve people’s lives. Does he really expect Bahamians to wait another five years to find that the PLP’s bag of promises is empty — and has always been empty?
Shootings are certainly on the increase.
Someone who was shot on New Year’s eve, died yesterday, bringing the murder figure for 2016 to 114. So far in the first 10 days of this new year we have already had five murders — a murder every other day for the opening of 2017. Where is Dr Nottage’s promised solution? When will it be revealed and put into effect so that we can see results?
Now let us see how our little nation ranks in the world’s view. According to NationMaster, a resource for country statistics, their latest report for homicides per 100,000 residents, the Bahamas ranked ninth against Lesotho, Honduras, El Salvador, St Kitts and Nevis, Venezuela, Belize, Guatemala, and Jamaica. The last ranking taken for the Bahamas was in 2011. We all know that since then crime has climbed even higher.
There is then the more recent IDB report on crime and violence in the Bahamas. According to the IDB “the murder rate in the Bahamas has more than doubled in the last 10 years and is now among the highest in the Caribbean region. Between 2000 and 2014, the rate of homicides reached its high in 2011 (37.4 per 100,000 population) and dropped slightly to 31.9 in 2014.
“At this rate (per 100,000 population), The Bahamas has the tenth highest murder rate in the world, just beating out South Africa, Jamaica, which was sixth, and Honduras and Venezuela.”
Despite this bleak outlook, the National Security Minister, had this to say above the noise of the Junkanoo drums beating in the New Year:
“I think when you look at the whole broad spectrum and public policy and the impact that it has had on the quality of life in our country, there’s no doubt that the only party that has a plan, a strategy, projects, policies that have been benefiting people is the PLP and I think anybody taking a fair look at the progress of the country over the last four years would admit that the PLP is well suited to see its policies through over the course of the next five years.”
Please, Dr Nottage, don’t insult the Bahamian people with high sounding phrases that neither you nor your colleagues can support - or deliver on.