EDITOR, The Tribune.
Nicki Kelly is a doyenne of journalism in this country and over decades she has seen it all and reported on much of it.
Nowadays she writes between the lines giving her considered two cents worth on what’s happening in our country. Every so often though she misses a beat and strays far off the reservation.
Ms Kelly apparently has a bee in her bonnet about the FNM in general and the Prime Minister in particular. This is not to say that she carries (or carried) any water for the PLP and Perry Christie, only that her objectivity is sometimes missing in action.
But she is unrelentingly cynical about Hubert Minnis and never misses a chance to portray him as a boogey man stirring some nefarious caldron of mischief and/or incompetence
A recent salvo involved the transfer of a public officer from one Ministry to another. The Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was reassigned to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.
To Ms Kelly there was something fishy about the transfer and without applying her journalistic balance, she assumed that the Prime Minister moved her because some Haitian voodoo high priest told him to do so.
Around the same time, a Haitian diplomat had committed an egregious diplomatic faux pas by dipping his mouth into a domestic debate in full violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
The Bahamas succeeded to this Convention on March 17, 1977, and Article 41 clearly states that a diplomat must respect the laws and regulations of the receiving country and that he has a duty not to interfere in the local affairs of that state.
When the Haitian diplomat put his foot wrong, the government instructed the Acting Permanent Secretary to call him on the carpet for a diplomatic dressing down which consisted mostly of her telling him that the Bahamas Government was “deeply concerned” by his behaviour. That’s diplomacy for “You went too far, stop it.”
The embarrassment for Haiti was not in what the PS said, but more in the public knowledge that one of their diplomats had essentially been told to pick a tamarind switch and come for a lashing.
But to Ms Kelly the government was being disingenuous. It was out of “spite and vindictiveness” (her words) that the PS was transferred.
Ms Kelly gave a backhand slap to the Ministry of Youth equating a posting there with being banished to Siberia. But any civil servant will tell you that being assigned to a low-budget but important Ministry with a small staff and an inexperienced Minister is a difficult assignment that requires all hands on deck, all the time.
Ms Kelly should drift out of the diplomatic fast lane because she appears to have lost her way. Ms Jackson’s transfer had nothing to do with our Haitian immigration problem, as she conjects. She ignored the assurance of the Minister of Foreign Affairs that the Haitian matter had nothing to do with the transfer. Any diplomat who publicly comments on our domestic politics would have been similarly scolded.
Ms Kelly tacitly accepts that the government had no choice but to call in the errant diplomat, but she just couldn’t help herself from dropping licks on Dr Minnis.
She labeled him “clueless” because, as she confessed, his government did the right thing. Only to her, it was the right thing for the wrong reason. She got all up inside the PM’s head, accused him of being a near-sighted micro manager dragging us into repeated crises.
Ms Jackson was probably re-assigned because her skill-set was best needed at the Youth Ministry or for other considerations, but no administration gives reasons for re-assigning civil servants.
If there was no Haitian diplomatic blunder clouding the personnel shuffle, there is little doubt that Ms Kelly would have invented one and gone on to chide the PM for moving Ms. Jackson because he was trying to hide something.
Ms Kelly also took the wrong lane in July when her subject was Travis Robinson, the MP who voted against an increase of VAT in his party’s budget and paid a heavy price. She even saw in him prime ministerial timber and went on to blow smoke over his stand.
Then, swerving wildly into the right lane, she suggested that Mr Robinson might have taken the leadership route by explaining to his people why he supported the tax increase.
Conspiracy theorists of the world, you have a new member who should learn to drive between the lines.
September 2, 2018