EDITOR, The Tribune.
The Most Honourable Prime Minister has announced the launching of the FNM’s campaign for re-election. Following closely on this was an editorial letter by operatives of that entity lauding the so-called accomplishments of the regime, to date. Mind you, nothing spectacular has been done, in my view since day one of their elevation to high office. It is generally agreed that they came into office unexpectedly and totally unprepared. One would have thought, however, that they would have been quick learners and easily adaptable.
Governance, I guess is not as easy as some imagine it to be. It is a complex form of human endeavour and involves numerous facets. A leader in my opinion is an individual who has a vision, rightly or wrongly, and is able to get people to follow him/her in carrying out that vision, man manufacturer or gifted by God Himself.
Several campaign promises were made by the incoming FNM during the campaign trail. In fact, so many of them were made that some ministers in the regime either are unable to recall them being made or they say, like the Most Honourable, that there are five or more years to bring them to fruition. Some of them were patently bogus in the extreme and are unlikely to see the light of day in this generation.
Campaign Finance Reform and the recall of MPs are doomed to die on the proverbial vine. Why? No political aspirant or entity, much less potential donors, would ever want the unwashed masses to actually know who gave what and how much. Dracula fears the light but our politicians, et al, fear it more. If a particular party were to lose do you think that donors would want to be publicly identified with it? In our system, to the victor goes the spoils. Insofar as recalling MP’s is concerned, I do not, as a constitutional scholar subscribed to this nebulous concept. Here is why.
Members of the House are elected by voters after electoral campaigns and an opportunity to vet them. The voice of the people has been said, erroneously, to be the voice of God. As such, votes have long been considered almost as sacred. Once someone would have been elected fairly and squarely, how and why would she/he be recalled? Under our Independence Order persons who are convicted of a serious criminal offence or declared a bankrupt by a competent court, they are obliged to vacate their seat or to have it declared vacant by a House Resolution. Remember the Sidney Stubbs matter?
The above two items will never, realistically, be supported or placed before parliament any time soon. No problem. What the FNM should be concentrating on are: successfully disposing of Our Lucaya; the reopening of the Freeport International Airport; resurrection of the Ginn Project over in West End, Grand Bahama; getting shovels in the ground over in Eleuthera with the Disney Complex; the sale and reopening of South Ocean Resort and/or the awarding of the dormant casino licence attached to that property to a deep pocket investor group like Albany or the Lyford Cay Club.
The refurbishment of major roads here in New Providence such as East Street; Nassau Street North and large portions of Village Road; a declared policy on taxation issues and, of course, the long awaited roll out of National Health Insurance; A coherent immigration and migration policy and, last but not least, transparency and fiscal responsibility. A tall and a long list but one that is doable if these politicians start to think outside of the box.
The perceived arrogance of the Most Honourable is becoming legendary. I fear that he is being manipulated, right left and centre. The FNM comes across as petty; clannish and out of touch. If they really believe that they are poised for re-election, I am the brother of Samson. The Progressive Liberal Party and its leadership cadre, however, must start to come up with alternative solutions and public policy initiatives. Their continued reactionary approach will not guarantee them the elections or even an increase in parliamentary seats.
For instance, the PM told the people up at Her Majesty’s Correctional Centre to be prepared to release people convicted and sentenced for small quantities of marijuana. A first year law student could have told him that ONLY the courts are able to order an early release and not the executive save in cases of the prerogative of mercy. To suggest otherwise is an affront to the separation of powers. The PLP should have seized on this by now and pronounced its own public policy initiatives. To God then, in all things, be the glory.
ORTLAND H BODIE Jr
January 27, 2020.