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Insight: Remember Minnis’ Words Then Compare Them With His New Reality

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune staff

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune staff

By Malcolm Strachan

LIGHTHOUSE Point has been at the epicentre of intense debate over the past few months. And the government’s approval of Disney’s proposal to invest $400m into yet another cruise port is both the culmination of an emotionally-charged campaign and, perhaps, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

Educated FNM supporters from the middle to upper-middle class – who were the ones who mainly advocated for the Lighthouse Partners’ proposal – had their stomachs turned as they awoke to Friday’s headlines being plastered with the demands of Disney’s VP of public affairs, Kim Prunty. Only a few hours later, the sickening feeling intensified as the ideal of a Bahamas where it is truly “Bahamians first”, as the prime minister recently pontificated, was dealt a massive blow and the citizenry was brought back to reality.

Irrefutably, many among us were insulted as the government bent the knee to Disney and acquiesced to their demands.

It’s hard not to feel slighted by the outcome if you recall the prime minister’s passionate plea in December 2015, when he outlined his vision for The Bahamas to the Bahamian people. Ironically enough, it was one that foreshadowed the type of development proposed by the Lighthouse Point Partners.

Minnis said: “I envision a Bahamian economy that is progressively stimulated, not just through increased job opportunities, but also through increased Bahamian ownership and entrepreneurship.

“More and more Bahamians must own a piece of this new Bahamas. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to develop a more empowering economic vision, and shepherd its execution into a reality that Bahamians can capitalise upon and experience. In addition, the systems and institutions which govern our everyday lives must be strategically revamped to be more responsive, results-oriented and underscored by best practices.”

In reflecting on the prime minister’s words nearly three years ago, one must realise the striking similarities between the vision he shared and what was proposed by the Lighthouse Point Partners. However, it would seem as when it comes to foreign or local, there is an underlying tendency for Bahamian people to frown upon their own in support of foreign interests.

Oddly enough, many supporters of Disney posited that the Lighthouse Point Partners were doing the bidding of the “white boogeyman” – which hardly made an iota of sense if one took the time to review the entity’s plan.

Appallingly, a neocolonialist mindset has permeated South Eleuthera and has drawn a divide within that community. It has been terribly unfortunate to see the attacks levied on brothers and sisters for having a difference of opinion. Shamefully, the prime minister, who looked on as this played right before his eyes when he attended the town meeting (Disney pep rally) in Green Castle a few weeks ago – passed up on the opportunity to galvanise a community fractured on a shared hope for its future.

Sadly, this was the same prime minister that said: “We can no longer operate from the perspective that a sound and viable economic development and investment policy is one dominated by foreign interests. A progressive and empowering economic development and investment policy in the new Bahamas will be one that not only welcomes practical foreign investments, but encourages and incentivises full Bahamian participation, partnerships and ownership as well.

“In the new Bahamas, gone will be the days when the wealthy and wealthy companies increase record profits and accumulate wealth with impunity. Also gone are the days when they did so on the backs of the common men and women who remained hopelessly in poverty. The economic playing field must be levelled to ensure that Bahamians with vision, creativity and determination can have full and unfettered access to entrepreneurial and investment opportunities.”

At the time, these were considered very powerful words from the prime minister. And while in many other facets he has been a gross disappointment, none may be more regrettable than the lack of creating opportunities for Bahamian people to own their economy.

Rightfully so, many Bahamians have gotten the sense that Disney long had this deal in the bag, and that the prime minister’s once profound vision will now continue to drift into a realm of fantasy.

Certainly, jobs will always be a great help for people of a community. However, the model of owning our economy is a feat that Prime Minister Minnis has yet to accomplish. As a leader, he was supposed to be able to see much further beyond the short-sightedness that we tend to experience as a desperate populace.

Though he was elected as the lesser of two evils, nonetheless, he was chosen to shepherd us to greener pastures.

If we’re being honest, the Lighthouse Point Partners were proposing exactly the kind of development that Dr Minnis looked towards in December 2015. And perhaps most disheartening, although the Lighthouse Point Partners were able to prove they had the better plan along with financial backing in place, the government’s decision does not seem based on merit, but rather in line with tradition.

This tradition is one that has been rejected by many of the citizens that would have voted for the government in the last general election. Many of them feel tricked. Duped.

As constituents across the country have made their feelings known, surely they must be aware the writing is on the wall.

Now, will ministers who entered Parliament claiming to be men of integrity see the time is drawing nigh and begin to promote self-interest as we have seen in former administrations? Certainly, the Bahamian people should be on high alert over the risk of possible graft and theft increasing as a scramble to secure family, friends and lovers in the wake of this decision.

Many of these same men and women may be questioning what they can now get out of it prior to the election in 2022, a year before Disney hires a single soul.

Truly, the Minnis administration may have determined its own political fate by yet another contradiction, as once again, Bahamians do not feel first.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years ago

And to think Minnis promised over and over again: "This time it's gonna be the people's time." LMAO.

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Porcupine 2 years ago

Question. Is it too late? Or, do enough Bahamians have the balls to stop this in its tracks. Be imaginative now. What are the ways Disney would give this up?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years ago

I catch your drift and what you have in mind is precisely what Bahamians of all walks of life all over the Bahamas need to do, with the good people of Eleuthera leading the charge. The property once occupied by Disney and its guests needs to be ................., yes, that's right, needs to be ................. over and over again (at least once or twice a month), with many video postings of the .................. to social media with invited coverage of one of the .................. by the major news outlets (newspapers, TV, Cable, internet, etc.). Only by Bahamians repeatedly .....................the property will Disney get the message that they have no alternative but to abandon it and never return. In fact, we should all now be sending out a loud message that we don't want or need any of their cruise ships in our waters anywhere in the Bahamas. Disney will never add anything to our economy for the benefit of Bahamians at large (as has been the experience to date) while they go about completely destroying our most beautiful and pristine land and sea environments. Minnis himself should also be ..................... by the Bahamian people until Disney abandons the Lighthouse Point property.

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DDK 2 years ago

The beach is to be open to Bahamians. Picket anyone or anything associated with The Evil Mouse.

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Porcupine 2 years ago

Mr Strachan,

You obviously "get it". Now, looking at world history, including ours, is there something else that may break this deal? To keep Disney from destroying yet another pristine marine habitat in The Bahamas? Disney is a brand that cares much about its' image. Mr. Strachan, be creative. I am urging you to consider ways to stop this terrible project. They can all be legal, if they must. Just because Minnis his highness has endorsed, and seemingly and undemocratically given Disney the green light, are we really powerless to stop it? Think about all the injustices throughout history that were stopped. Was it by writing and petitioning a government that just doesn't "get it" for whatever reason they may have? Or, were the injustices ended because people put their collective feet down and said "enough"? And then moved into action. Will we just cry out for another lost piece of paradise? Or, will we stand up to the stupidity and duplicity of our PM? I believe that we could win this one for our beloved Bahamaland, if we found the courage and strength to fight the good fight. I am calling for all right-thinking Bahamians to come together for the good of our nation, and do whatever it takes to stop this ill fated project in its' tracks. Mr. Strachan, please respond.

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momoyama 2 years ago

I am sorry to say this Mr. Strachan, but you and your colleagues in the media are fully responsible for the horrible situation that this country finds itself in. You manufactured a baseless and biased (and frankly warped) version of reality in which the PLP was so corrupt and sself-serving that ANYTHING was better. You did so without so much as a scintilla of evidence and even ignored that the FNM is the only party to have been found in a court of law (on irrefutable evidence) to be involved in a massive act of corruption (BEC) that cost the taxpayer. You ignored the massive positive achievements of the PLP - the University of the Bahamas, expansion of the Defence Force, doubling scholarships, doubling the conviction rate via Swift Justice. You simply invented your own version of reality, replete with newspaper outer covers with Christie as a vampire (appealing to pure animal stupidity over reason). You did this because you were controlled (like the media generally) by people who want to take us back to pre 1967, like the owners of the Guardian, who have a corrupt, vested interest against NHI, which of clear nobody declares or reports on. My father was for 10 years an FNM Minister and I admire many of Ingraham's achievements. But Ingraham remember was a PLP, albeit a reform one. I fear that you and your colleagues in media have set this country back a generation with this corrupt, incompetent and clueless bunch that you have saddled us with and now claim to be "disappointed" after all the evidence of what they were and promised to be. Remember Bobo and Toggie?? Selling Baha Mar??

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Porcupine 2 years ago

"You did so without a scintilla of evidence"? What? Are you being serious? Sticking with a failed two-party system and then arguing for one side is a bit intellectually weak, isn't it? The FNM and the PLP have failed the people of The Bahamas. And please tell, "what is pure animal stupidity over reason"? Most animals get along much, much better than the god chosen PLP and FNMs. And, most animals do not despoil there homes. Ever drive through the PLP and FNM city of Nassau? I think I'll choose animal stupidity over political operative thinking in every case.

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momoyama 2 years ago

You need to drive through any other developing city capital, including in our region. Then you will see why anyone from any of those countries would do anything to move here. Thanks to our post independence governments, the Bahamas is a SUCCESS. Is it enough? Hell NO! But that is a very different proposition from the many idiots (and UBP vestiges) who claim we should be reversing course. We need to STAY THE COURSE. Introduce NHI as a logical evolution of the social safety net introduced by NIB. Stop putting taxes on the poor and start a progressive income tax like every other sane country on earth. In other words CLOSING THE GAP between rich and poor that is at the heart of every single one of our problems in this country - INCLUDING your famous drive-through of Nassau. You normally make sense, Porcupine, but do not buy into this privatization/dump the state bollocks. We need to invest in our people and we can EASILY afford to do it. The PLP was not perfect, but theirs was the right direction. This crew will place us in reverse.

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Dawes 2 years ago

We are a success in spite of then PLP and FNM. All the people in both parties have enriched themselves whilst in power at the expense of the people. The most shameful part of that is the people they were meant to help the most are the ones they have let down the most.

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themessenger 2 years ago

The only thing the PLP ever invested in was their pockets, unfortunately for us this FNM crew appear to be quick learners.............

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Porcupine 2 years ago

momoyama,

You apparently got me confused with someone else. I am a long time socialist. I would nationalize many of our important industries here. And, give more than enough for education, health care, and social services. I would also institute a graduated progressive income tax. There would also be relatively high commercial property taxes to ease the burden on working people. I have never bought into the privatization/dump the state idea.

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stillwaters 2 years ago

We can go around and around the mulberry bush, we can blame and castigate every government we place in power, and we can fight amongst ourselves, but three facts are worth exploring. One- a whole lot of money is being sucked out of the economy due to shopping abroad, all nationalities sending money home, web-shops absorbing money like a sponge, and what's left is the money all of us are living on and which is getting less and less. Two- there is no magical pot of gold that the government can access, neither is there a magical stash of jobs that government can access, neither are Bahamians willing to invest seriously. Three- governments promise the world to people to gain political power, but very little of those promises are based in actual reality- citizens need to wake the hell up and stop believing every word coming from a politician's mouth.

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realfreethinker 2 years ago

Excellent point stillwaters. We have been conditioned for too long that the gov is our savior. Bahamians expect the gov to do for them from the cradle to the grave. I am not a fan of political parties,but I do believe we have a fighting chance with this gov. They seem to not be bowing to all the special interest groups. They seem to be prepared to make the tough decisions that should have been made years ago.

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TheMadHatter 2 years ago

Bottom line is we have to obey the whims of the United States without receiving the benefits. The bad without the good.

Why don't we petition to become the 51st state? We already are in so many ways. Why not add on the good stuff? Or are Bahamians so used to only having bad - that they just love it too much to change?

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DDK 2 years ago

What good stuff??????

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TalRussell 2 years ago

Unburdened to deliver 10 May, 2017 general election promises afar from close media scrutiny pro hitched hipbones red shirts party...... the elected red comrades are left free based on no more than their own own integrity level to pursue or not pursue self-interests.
Few can look with straight face at those 91,409 voting in 35 red shirts MP's, not to mock them voters with unsettling words to effect - that there couldn't possibly be better a time to be a governing politician when most, if not all, be collecting more than one regular paycheque, along with government cars and drivers, health insurance and pension benefits, abundance foreign with travel and entertainment allowances and its all being billed for payments directly to WorkingPeoplesPublicPurse.{ There is no reason make such up }.

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DDK 2 years ago

DOWN WITH THE MOUSE AND DOWN WITH THE RATS. Minnis best enjoy it while he can. He either has no back-bone or he is corrupt to the bone, or both. This is indeed the straw that broke the backs of many camels. I am one of them. Many say they will not vote again, certainly not for either the PLP or FNM. This FNM S U C K S!

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TheMadHatter 2 years ago

In the current instance, the Environmental Protection Agency would be involved with the Eleuthera project. But, to further answer your question DDK:

Roads without potholes. Traffic lights that work and are properly timed and have turn arrows Libraries that have books and magazines in them Real bookstores Real teachers that actually get paid money to teach Town mayors that have authority to actually do things Hospital and clinic equipment that works let alone even exists Community colleges that teach more than how to glue colored paper together to make Junkanoo costumes Cellphone service that doesn't cost blood Retirement benefits worthy of your time to collect from the bank Power that is reliable and 4x cheaper Road signs that have information on them and are not falling over and faded Bus systems that work and are affordable Milk and dairy and fruits and vegetables that are not already half-spoiled at the time of purchase Tax and expenditure information that you can read A monetary currency that is acceptable 95% of the places in the world

I could go on and on and on.

Being only 70 miles from the Florida coast we are like a starving man in a big dog cage and there is a filet mignon steak dinner with all the trimmings placed 5 feet away from the cage to be seen and smelled, but just out of arm's reach.

Donald Trump described us best on January 11th.

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Porcupine 2 years ago

Madhatter,

You are correct. However, wouldn't it burden your conscience to participate in a country that spends so much money and human resources, your tax dollars, in killing so many innocent people around the world? If the US had spent a fraction of that nearly trillion dollars every year of our lives actually making the world a better place............................. And, could any decent person willingly live in the same country as Trump?

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DDK 2 years ago

"At times, Dr Minnis appears to be acting like a president rather than a prime minister who, in our parliamentary democracy, should be primus inter pares – first among equals – in relation to his ministerial colleagues and, while leading and coordinating government policy and action, should always take account of differing views in reaching consensus in Cabinet" (from a very recent editorial or insight).

Can Light House Point Partners not sue The so-called National Economic Council for failing to take into consideration the views and opinions of ALL in our Nation and obtain some sort of injunction against the desecration of our Bahamas by yet another Disney venture? It seems the Courts had issues with Nygard interfering with the coastline in the Capital, what about the issues of ecological damage to the coast line and seas in Eleuthera and the rest of our waters?

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TalRussell 2 years ago

Ma comrades, just yesterday read internal survey which will break hearts 91,409 voting 10 May 2017 to elevate 35 red shirts to the House. The survey was conducted on behalves Imperial red shirts governing party, that rates the Minnis and KP administration as being in tie race with the country that has the world’s worst postal service and government ,,, being in statistical tie with South African country Sao Tome and Principe which is amazingly rated be safe and welcoming to visitors {No desire nor need makes such steering in your face up }.

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birdiestrachan 2 years ago

Doc lies. a lot he can give Donald Trump some tips. on how to lie with a bold face.

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TheMadHatter 2 years ago

Porcupine, these so called "innocent people" you mention are not at all innocent.

Look at the caravan of over 7,000 people coming up now from Honduras. That country along with Nicaragua and Guatemala have been "shithole countries" for longer than ive been alive. Those people are mentallt ill, sick in the head, bringing children into the world to live in those horrible conditions. Same with many other countries around the world.

When a few thousand of them are killed by dropping bombs you need to look at the bright side. All the potential children and children's children who now do not have to suffer in those places.

These people outright refuse to stop overbreeding. They say God said to be fruitful and multiply. I have no sympathy for child abusers, and that's what they are.

Trump is doing a GREAT job. He needs to invade those 3 counties and simply usurp them like Hawaii. Then the people there can start to enjoy the wonders of the USA that they seek right in their own countries. Give the army navy and air force something productive to do. The children of Honduras etc will thank him.

These people need education even more than they need food.

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Porcupine 1 year, 12 months ago

Your short post here, Madhatter shows a level of thinking that is poisoning our world. Racist, cowardly, ignorant, oblivious, sick, are all words that could apply to this post alone. Rather sad. Turn off Fox News. It is not helping you become "better informed".

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DDK 1 year, 12 months ago

Some of us should QUESTION MORE!

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DDK 1 year, 12 months ago

Whatever. Sometimes the Madness takes over! I am 100% with Porcupine on this one. It would take too much time and energy to point out the perversity in your Trumposity.

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Soapstop 2 years ago

The opposition seems to grow stronger and louder every day.

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DDK 1 year, 12 months ago

It does, doesn't it? Sadly, with good reason.

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 12 months ago

Porcupine, i dont understand where "racist" comes into it. I made no remark on race.

Are you suggesting that if you are Hispanic then you can live your life like a jackass and nobody can point out to you that you are a jackass because then they will be labelled racist?

How many children per family do you think people should have in Honduras? What would be the correct figure: 3? 5? 9? 14?

Enlighten me with your wisdom.

Maybe all the adoption agencies in the USA, Canada, and in Europe should dump their kids in Honduras so they can be taken care of better?

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