WHAT is the point of a promise if it remains unfulfilled?
In yesterday’s Tribune, we reported on the situation faced by Olympic gold medal winner Ramon Miller.
In 2012, he was part of the 4x400m relay team that won the gold medal in the London Olympics. He ran the anchor leg to bring the gold home for his country.
As a thank you, he was given Crown Land in 2014 by the government on which to build a home. At the time, he was elated. That joy has turned to frustration as he has faced, as he puts it, “roadblock after roadblock”.
He talked of how he had written to former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis for intervention, how he had spoken to Dr Minnis in person, and had two meetings with former Prime Minister Perry Christie. He was in contact with former Minister of Works Desmond Bannister. And still he was left in limbo with a failure to put in infrastructure to accommodate what should have been a dream home, that has turned into a nightmare.
Perhaps his might be an isolated case?
Not so, it would seem. In today’s Tribune, you can read how the Golden Girls, the women who won gold at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, have also been left frustrated over land gifted to them by the government.
Pauline Davis-Thompson, Savatheda Eynes, Chandra Sturrup, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie and Eldece Clarke have never been able to access their Tropical Gardens properties nor have they been able to get the go-ahead for the placement of infrastructure.
Their situation has been dragging on since 2002. That’s nearly 20 years.
Pauline Davis-Thompson said yesterday: “We didn’t want the rest of the world to know,” adding that it was a “secret”.
“My heart is heavy and pretty much we didn’t want to embarrass the government,” she said. “We didn’t want the rest of the world to know. We brag and say we are Bahamians, but that was a big secret that was being kept. We never wanted this stuff to go international.
“We tried to go behind the scenes and talk and agitate to every imaginable person because we didn’t want this to be public. We are thankful to the Bahamian people for giving us this gift, but it’s one that we have no access to.”
She added: “It’s humiliating and embarrassing.”
This is a failing on the part of government after government.
These are athletes who represented our nation at the highest level. As the world watched, the Bahamas flag was raised and our national anthem played thanks to the efforts of these supreme athletes.
Past governments should be embarrassed, whether FNM or PLP. This is no way to treat our sporting heroes. This is shameful.
Was it just one big publicity stunt? Look what we did for these wonderful athletes, just don’t expect us to follow through?
Former Prime Minster Perry Christie yesterday described the situation as a “failure by the system”. He said: “The intention at all times was to make the land liveable and to the extent that it has not been done represents a failure by the system because I am satisfied that it was the intention of all of us who had the responsibility to ensure that they had a liveable experience in receiving the land.”
It was your system at the time, Mr Christie. It is not just a failure by the system. It is a failure by that system’s leaders. All of them. That mouthful of gobbledygook sounds exactly like the kind of buck shifting that has led to these star athletes being left high and dry by their government.
We all know the saying about good intentions, Mr Christie, but unlike outside the homes of athletes, at least it seems the road to hell is paved.
It leaves a bitter taste for our sporting heroes. It also leaves our future stars wondering if any promise of land will be delivered properly. Will any future reward be tainted by suspicion?
This should not be a major hurdle to overcome. In fact, this should be a very easy win for the new administration led by Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis.
Fix this. Get it done. Honour our sporting heroes the way they should have been. You promised a New Day, Mr Davis. Let’s make this a first step, and treat those who helped our nation shine on the greatest stage of all the way properly.
They have been our heroes. It’s time to be their hero.