EDITOR, The Tribune.
We have enjoyed, in most cases, parliamentary democracy over the past 55 years with the advent of ministerial government during the 1960s and the emergence of internal self governance and, eventually, independence. Over the years, I have seen countless men and women enter the hallowed halls of parliament filled with zeal and vision. Indeed, they come into parliament roaring like a lion only to leave, involuntarily or voluntary, mewing like a pussy cat.
Many of those over the years strutted about and preened like peacocks. They, usually, exhibited gross and puzzling signs of narcissism and, God forbid, schizophrenic behaviour. The fabled Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde have nothing on them.
Well do I recall individuals who made up the first wave of PLP members of parliament back in 1967-1968. Men like Kendal Nottage; Darrold Rolle; James Shepherd; Frankly Wilson; Loftus Roker; Lynden O Pindling; Cecil Wallace Whitfield, et al. They were enthusiastic and gung-ho to do the people’s business.
The majority of them were motivated by an opportunity to serve and not to dominate the political landscape. Today, the average individual who gets into parliament, especially by election to the House of Assembly, seems to conveniently forget about his/her constituents and the reasons why they would have been elected.
Yes, I have been an armchair observer for decades watching the comings and the goings of “important” individuals into and out of parliament. When some of them are obliged to leave their perches they age rapidly and tend to die in poverty or from abject and debilitating medical issues.
They tend to forget that there is a life outside of parliament. Countless PLP MPs during the finale of the now mercifully concluded final term of Brother Christie, have vanished from the scene. Some have returned to law or medical practices and others have returned to private businesses. One or two, it is alleged, are living off wealth accumulated while they held sway. The rest have either gone underground or are still suffering the agony of political defeat.
I am a PLP and make no apologies for this. Yes, like so many other right-thinking Bahamians, I was obliged to vote for the FNM in the form of Marvin Dames, who is now the MP for the great constituency of Mount Moriah and Minister of National Security. I simply could not take another hour of Brother Christie’s juvenile antics and poor leadership traits. He had to go by all means necessary from an electoral point. In fact, in order to successfully change debilitating leadership into the real deal leadership which a majority of Bahamians and PLPs wanted, we had to send Brother Christie, et al, back home.
We all wish the current administration to succeed but at the rate Prime Minister Dr Minnis and Finance Minister Peter Turnquest are driving the economy of our wonderful nation, with no hands apparently on the wheel, we are in for a free fall.
The single saving grace of this administration is that it has a cadre of elected and appointed parliamentarians who are dedicated to providing good parliamentary representation. Please keep in mind that I am not an FNM and 85 per cent of my other habits are good. I call a spade, however, a spade.
The entire country knows that my favourite FNM cabinet minister is the Hon. Dinisio D’Aguilar (FNM-Free Town), Minister of Tourism & Aviation. He is hard working, a quick study with his portfolio and, of course, is a committed patriot, third only to myself and Brave Davis. I don’t, of course, understand the low profile which he’s maintained over the purchase and refurbishment of the Grand Lucayan Hotel over in Freeport. The PM, with his legendary “hands off attitude” towards the craft of governance, seems to have established a corporate vehicle to purchase that property and to get it in shape for eventual anticipated and hoped for sale to a private buyer down the road.
This is all well and good, but Attorney Michael Scott, no doubt a good man, is not a known business person and has absolutely no hands-on experience in actually running a hotel. The last one that was under his sway was/is The Light House Hotel over in Andros, a very small property that has never been a viable concern... even Bahamian investors who may have some loose change have been reluctant to purchase that property despite its great location and endless possibilities. Scott, he and I were admitted to The Bahamas Bar on the same date and he is a former partner at Callenders & Company, once declared that he had “no faith” in Minnis’ leadership skills... now he is creased up, as a hotel turn-around expert, with the PM? Hopefully, for you all sake, this will all end well.
In the meantime, however, I publicly congratulate D’Aguilar and Dames for their stellar performances as cabinet ministers. I would be remiss if I did not also publicly compliment and congratulate Shanendon Cartwright (FNM-St Barnabas), chairman of the Public Beaches & Park Commission, on his stellar performance and hands on approach to parliamentary representation over in St Barnabas. He is, from long time, a focused individual and he has a grand plan to develop and nurture his constituents one at a time.
As cChairman of the aforesaid commission, Grand Master Cartwright has demonstrated, over and over again, that one of the best decisions made by the embattled PM so far, is his appointment of Cartwright to that vital body.
Cartwright’s constituency offices are opened every weekday during regular business hours. The staff is in place and the lights and telephones are on. You make an appointment to see the Honourable Chairman, you actually get to see him on time unless something unexpected comes up.
He and his team conduct regular clean ups and oversee the removal of derelict vehicles and discarded items like furniture and appliances.
I have been privileged to see the outline of plans which he has for the constituency for all sorts of literacy and other programmes. In fact, my non-profit organisation, Common Cause, fully supports his wonderful efforts to uplift all of the constituents in St. Barnabas be they FNMs; PLPs or independents.
I have known Shanendon for a very long time. He, like myself, is a member of the craft known as Free Masonry. As a fellow “son of the widow” I have absolutely no doubt or a hint of suspicion as to where his heart lies. He has been mandated by The Great Architect of the Universe to ensure that their lives, as well as other Bahamians, line up within the square and the compass.
If there were at least ten more members in parliament like Shanendon Cartwright (FNM-St Barnabas) The Bahamas would be able to get to the next level in short order.
The measure of a person’s life, in my opinion, is what he/she is able first of all to advance the kingdom of Yahweh; support and nourish his family/relatives and himself and, of course, what is done in love for the wider society and nation.
We are to love one another as Jesus Christ demonstrated when he walked among mankind. Way to go Brother Cartwright. It is to be remembered, however, that in all things, to God be the glory.
ORTLAND H. BODIE, Jr.
September 23, 2018