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Will Union Perish With No Vision?

EDITOR, The Tribune.

Please publish this letter to our Prime Minister.

Dear Prime Minister, Dr Minnis, please come over into (NAD) Macedonia and help us. There is great pain and suffering being felt at this “supposedly” Quasi-Government entity.

I watched the news clip on social media a couple nights ago and saw the Airport Authority staff – a group still making one hundred percent of their salaries – clamouring for monies owed to them, and I can fully understand their plight! What I didn’t get, however, was the union president, Mr Kingsley Ferguson, leading the way with the microphone in hand and saying it’s the “Squeaky wheel that gets the oil” or something to that effect. Really now?

NAD’s staff and Airport Authority (AA) staff are both working under the same roof at LPIA and (to the best of my knowledge) are both represented by Mr Kingsly Ferguson’s union – BPSU. NAD staff has been on fifty percent pay for roughly one year now! (some make 50% and others 40%). And this is all before deductions are taken out: NIB, insurance, loans and mortgages, etc. All with no real sense of relief in sight; the glaring reality is that employees can go home with as low as 25-35% of their salaries in hand.

Dr Minnis, I have heard one person say that she was left with as little as $20 on her account after deductions – now please let that sink in for a minute. Another lady laments that following her basic deductions and her mortgage she has a negative balance of under $10 on her account. And this is a productive, hardworking, single Bahamian mother with children.

This means she has to now go out and find the difference to satisfy and appease the needs of her loan provider.. God help us all.

What I don’t understand is Mr Ferguson’s logic in only publicly pushing the envelope for the AA staff and does not appear to be exerting the same level of energy as it relates to the plight of the NAD employees.

Let me hasten to emphasise here that this approach is a great source of consternation for many of the NAD employees he also represents. Has Mr Ferguson completely lost all of his marbles? Can you imagine firemen rushing to a burning building and only looking after those that are already “one hundred percent” safe while showing little to no visible interest in the cries of those still trapped inside, screaming in the midst of the burning flames! I wonder what would the future of those seemingly foolish and “out of touch” firemen look like?

One can only imagine how many NAD employees must have dropped out off the union over the past year after finding themselves in such dire financial straits. And conversely, how many AA workers were still able to retain their membership in the union because they were all able to take home a hefty one hundred percent of their salary!

I wonder which of the two options does more and goes further with the afflicted: a broad and consultative approach aimed at easing the pain or an insensitive and vindictive nature. It is one thing to raise both arms and lead a hymn, to get riled up an already frenzied crowd; and its quite another to hear the afflicted say:

“We can hear his hymn, but we just cannot see his heart or does he even have a heart!” As a representative of both entities one should be careful of giving “the appearance” (rightly or wrongly so) that some favours might have been involved.

Not only must a union leader be fair, but he must also be seen to be fair! Don’t tell us what you’re negotiating behind the scenes; we only know what we have heard and seen in that media clip on social media with – only one of the twin entities being publicly mentioned. Maybe there is another clip that I missed from the same period. If that is the case, I would really love to hear it! Mr. Ferguson’s last election appeared to have been a nail biter at the outset; and though he eventually pulled away and won, some would still consider it a relatively close race.

Dr Minnis, unlike Mr Ferguson’s recent triumph – you came sweeping into power on a substantial wave of popularity. A wave so massive that even the former administration was swept out to sea in your landslide victory! Mr Ferguson’s view, in my opinion, is both narrow and myopic; but you, Sir, must always look at something Mr Ferguson “appears” to be struggling to get his mind around and that is – the big picture! Now let me be abundantly clear – Airport Authority has a very hard-working staff complement and these people deserve every dollar they are owed! Having said that, however, the same can be said of NAD employees, and we are all Bahamians – so please, don’t let them try to pull another one over on us!

You, sir, are not the Prime Minister for some Bahamians, but you are the Prime Minister for all Bahamians.

Dr Minnis, we have prayed, seen and heard in a vision of the night – someone saying: “Come over into Macedonia (NAD) and help us!” And when the fog had cleared, and lifted of that heavenly vision, the man we saw coming on a white horse to help us was Dr Hubert Alexander Minnis! An “open-minded leader” with both a “heart,” a” soul,” and an abundance of compassion.

BIG JAKE McPHEE

Nassau,

February 17, 2021.

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