EDITOR, The Tribune
The good old fashioned system of values which my late father (Reverend Dr. Ortland H. Bodie Sr.) and my late beloved mother (Annie Hepburn Deveaux) instilled in me and my siblings growing up back in the day has stood the test of time. Those values included a love and respect for The Lord Jesus Christ; taking responsibility for one’s behaviour and choices; self reliance; hard work; thrift and honesty.
Not for one minute would I dare suggest that as I matured into adulthood that I would have faithfully observed all of them but, by and large, if I may say so, they stood me well. I have done my level best to attempt to instil the same in my own children. Values are extremely important if a society is to evolve into all it can be for as many as possible. Permit me to offer my rationale on this.
Back in the day it was regarded as unusual to see and hear about children having children as we now see all over the place. These children that are being produced are illegitimate or being raised in a so-called single parent home, usually the mother. 65% of all live Bahamian births are out of wedlock.
Our inner city areas here in New Providence and Grand Bahama are filled with people who have not been able to motivate themselves to take advantage of available educational opportunities, with a bunch of drug users and addicts and a growing and expanding dependency on the central government of the day. Some will make it out of the ghetto, but many others will go on from generation to generation in the same never ending quagmire.
When a family fails society at large fails also and fails big time with repercussions which are felt long into the future. The bulk of our younger Bahamians are GONE and they would appear not to care less. The powers that be come and they go but they hardly ever concentrate on the causes much less the solutions to this vexing and debilitating scenario.
The leading cause of death among our younger Bahamians today is homicide or murder. There appears to be no respect or value for life. A person appears to be willing to kill at the drop of a hat or less. Some social scientists suggest that one cannot legislate morals but I beg to differ. Our criminal justice system is based on morals that condemn certain types of behaviour within society.
If you breach them you will be expected to pay a price, ie incarceration; fines and/or execution in the worst cases. Today, the death penalty has gone the way of the extinct Dodo. We mouth that we are a Christian nation but most of you would not recognize a real Christian even if He were to come down, again, off the cross. We need to renew our commitment to our Judeo-Christian values in our churches; our houses of worship; our communities and in public life.
‘Thou Shall Not Lie or bear False Witness’ is one of the classical 10 Commandments. In The Bahamas many of us, especially the politicians pay lip service to that one listed and the majority if not all of the rest. Case in point: During the 2017 electoral campaign, Minnis and crew made all sorts of bogus promises which he/they must have known were lies. Not a single one of those myriad of promises has been enacted or fulfilled so far, save and except that educational costs are being borne by the government.
Our religious (not spiritual) leaders have now become steadfast secular allies of the politicians, especially those in power de jour. They clamour for a seat at the head table. A few of them seek governmental positions as if they would gain entry into the Celestial Kingdom by such means. They have ceased to preach: ‘Thus Saith The Lord’ but now ask: ‘What would the PM think?’
One year after Minnis and crew would have been in office the scales fell from my eyes. Yes, there are one or two ministries which are ticking and performing like clock work despite the overall challenges. The Ministry of Tourism & Aviation along with the Ministry of Social Development are doing yeomen’s jobs in challenging circumstances. The other ministries, by and large in my opinion are simply there to ensure a job and/or an income for cabinet level personnel.
Two years ago, after the humongous scales fell off, I warned the people of this wonderful nation that the PM et al did not know what the hell they were/are doing. I can now say without fear of contradiction: ‘See I Told You So’. They said that it was the people’s time and by damned you all got shafted big time with a jagged piece of stick.
No Accountability and Fiscal Responsibility Act; no Freedom of Information Act; Where is Local Government for New Providence; what about the long overdue infrastructural work: reduction in a long bloated civil service and affordable housing or the freeing up of Crown Land for commercial and residential purposes? Promises made BUT promises not kept.
See I told you so! To God then, Who always keeps His promises, come hell or high water, in all things, be the glory.
ORTLAND H. BODIE, Jr.
June 14, 2020.