Let’s play a game.
Who said the following?
“We believe in transparency, accountability, and integrity. We believe in honesty… we cannot live in a cloud of darkness any more.”
While you think about it, let’s talk about the Disney deal for Lighthouse Point.
The proposed deal has long been a bone of contention – with a number of environmentalist groups concerned that Disney’s proposed cruise port and entertainment complex would ruin a beautiful part of the Bahamian landscape.
So given the high profile of the project – and the widespread concerns raised over it – the signing of the deal would of course be a notable event, right?
Seemingly not. The Heads of Agreement was signed in private on Thursday. Was the media notified of the signing? No. The day after? Not so much. In fact, it was only at a town hall meeting in Eleuthera on Saturday that Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced the signing – a location where he had a sympathetic audience and without the media corps in attendance to quiz him on the deal.
Even after that, there’s hardly been a rush of information – a press release from Bahamas Information Services and an unanswered phone belonging to the recently appointed Director of Communications, Erica Wells-Cox.
Opposition leader Philip ‘Brave’ Davis is up in arms about the deal – calling for the Heads of Agreement to be tabled in the House of Assembly so his party, and the nation, can examine the details.
He says the FNM has “flubbed the example of open government”, and he’s completely right.
Mr Davis also points out the contrast with the Oban deal, where cameras and reporters were on hand to witness the signing – only for that particular signing to unravel thanks to the absence of due diligence, even down to questions over who signed what on the papers themselves.
“Why the secrecy… what is there to hide?” he asks. Good questions, indeed.
Whether you’re in favour or against the Disney deal, it is without question a substantial one – and one that can bring jobs and investment to the nation.
If the government is confident in this decision, this should be a moment to shout from the rooftops, to hail the prospects it will bring.
Instead, the ham-fisted handling of the announcement is stepping on the government’s own news. The FNM seem to think that all is well with how they have revealed this – a new press release hailing the announcement by the prime minister in a town hall two days later as “transparency and accountability” and jabbing at the PLP in return.
The PLP certainly did have their problems with transparency – and the FNM should bear in mind that’s why people voted them out.
As for that quote? That was then Opposition leader Dr Minnis, in 2013. He has been banging the drum for transparency for a long time. It’s about time he showed some.
... and the silver lining
If the above is a cloud, then it’s time for a silver lining. We are delighted to hear of the sighting of a seahorse in the North Bimini Bay area.
The sighting comes after dredging of mangroves in the area – another of those bones of contention at the time.
Before the dredging, seahorses were plentiful – and we hope this is the start of a return to the abundance of sea life in the area, and that this one seahorse soon has many friends for company.