EDITOR, The Tribune.
Under ordinary circumstances, I would caution PLP members like Alfred Sears, Raynard Rigby and Chester Cooper to keep their criticisms of their party indoors, on the grounds that it is harmful to their party to permit its dirty laundry to be weaponized by its opponents. Under the present circumstances, however, these gentlemen (all of whom I hold in high regard) will only be harming themselves by joining the blame-Christie bandwagon.
Bahamians are not stupid. With every embarrassing contradiction and every failure to carry out the promises it made, the FNM is becoming a casualty of its own narrative. The breakdown of the narrative is even spoiling relations between its various authors, with supporters of Sarkis Izmirlian now openly briefing against the Attorney General, for having stated the obvious, when they were led to believe the fantastic.
Those who watched the news on Thursday night will have seen a sincere and sure-footed Christie calling for fairness and context in the things being said about him and his government. It was a drastic contrast with the dodging, tight-lipped Minnis who, caught without the filter of his confusing Press Secretary on Wednesday night, exhibited a snarling contempt for media questioning. Asked to resolve the clear contradiction between what he said, what his AG said and what his Press secretary is now saying about Baha Mar, the man was reduced to defensive anger. Some transparency. Some ‘people’s time’.
Meanwhile, even the hopelessly biased Candia Dames had to admit, in her weekly ‘National Review’ last week, that the FNM witch-hunt which her paper so enthusiastically endorsed will “probably not” lead to criminal convictions of PLP politicians. That such an admission does not in any way temper her reckless accusations (a neighbouring article, entitled “Hogs at the Trough”, pictures an unconvicted ex-Minister beside the title) demonstrates the unprecedented assault on due process, fairness and natural justice undertaken by the FNM and its fellow travellers in the run-up to the election.
When all the lies, gossip and scandal are stripped away (and they will be, as Carl Bethel and now Candia Dames apparently concede) the fact remains that Mr Christie’s 2012 to 2017 government was the most productive in recent Bahamian history in terms of advancing the long-term development of The Bahamas.
It invested unprecedented money and energy in education, doubling scholarships to young Bahamians and bringing technology into classrooms on a scale not seen before.
It advanced National Health Insurance to a state where the FNM (despite its instincts) will not be able to shelve it and deliver Bahamians back to their masters in the insurance industry.
It gave us the University of The Bahamas; it doubled conviction rates for serious offences; and it began a process for reclaiming our skies that the FNM (as usual) will only continue so as to be able to criticise the PLP on the manner and extent of its implementation.
That should be the lasting narrative, if we ever get The Bahamas back to a point where parties compete on national development, rather than on flinging mud. As an opposition, the PLP owes it to the Bahamian people to keep us fixed on that narrative, rather than the politicization of corruption and the sanctification of unsubstantiated accusations. The FNM’s narrative is flaky and insincere. It will fall apart in the light of scrutiny. Now is not the time to be endorsing it.
June 30, 2017.