IT is less than a week since Bahamas Independence celebrations – yet it already seems forever ago that people were calling for unity and an end to political divisiveness.
Let us turn then to the foul-mouthed tirade of Bennett Minnis, a board member at the Water and Sewerage Corporation.
Mr Minnis, also the Mount Moriah constituency association chairman for the FNM, derided the Progressive Liberal Party as “corrupt, thieving, no good, bastard, homosexual African monkeys”.
The message came in a voice note that has been circulated widely – but when asked about it by The Tribune yesterday, he didn’t back down in the slightest, saying: “I said what I said, and I mean what I said.”
Needless to say, the PLP has called for his removal from his post at WSC, and rightly so. Take your pick of reasons why – slander, homophobia, racially-charged taunts. His comments are completely unacceptable, and that he continues to stand by them should make removing him an easy decision.
Sadly, the first FNM to respond has shown the lack of moral courage that encourages such attitudes as these.
FNM chairman Carl Culmer, rather than criticising Mr Minnis, accused the PLP of making nasty and defamatory comments and memes about Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and other FNMs instead. He told the PLP to “clean their own doorstep” before looking at the FNM’s. Well, that’s the kind of behaviour that leads us to an eye for an eye and the world goes blind.
There must be no place in our political landscape for such commentary. There must be no place in our working environments for such behaviour. This should not be a party issue – in this day and age there should be no room for calling people “monkeys”, no room for using accusations of homosexuality as an insult, no room for making allegations without foundation.
We sincerely hope that Mr Culmer isn’t the last word on tending the FNM’s own doorstep – and that the party leadership chooses to do the right thing. Whatever the other side might have done? Let that be condemned in its own turn – that is no excuse for turning a blind eye to this.
This is disgusting, and there is no place for it – no matter what colour the shirt of the person saying such things.
BTC chief should say sorry
Speaking of distasteful comments, the president of Liberty Latin America – the parent company of BTC – managed to insult his workers in this country, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and Bahamians nationwide, all in one short video clip.
Balan Nair was recorded saying Dr Minnis couldn’t look executives in the eye when trying to persuade the company to hire more Bahamians, and Mr Nair’s other comments have sparked bitter complaints from BTC employees, according to their union president.
The employees are quite right to be upset – if the president feels so dismissively towards Bahamians then perhaps he should get out of the market and leave it to Bahamians themselves.
At a time when BTC has had a share of its market taken by newcomer Aliv, Mr Nair would also do well not to alienate more of his service’s users. At the very least, he owes Bahamians an apology.
A statement from Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe in the Office of the Prime Minister called the comments “extraordinarily inappropriate”. We agree – though we can’t help but feel those words might have been better coming from the Prime Minister’s mouth himself.
Then we could see if Mr Nair could look him in the eye in return.