EDITOR, The Tribune.
Last week was an epiphany to some. But the shocking allegations of conflicts of interest by members of the present government (and their insulting, but predictable refusal to adequately address them by shifting the discussion back to the PLP) should have at least one positive effect.
Now that the flimsiness of the FNM’s main, distracting narrative (ie, PLP corrupt, FNM clean) has finally been revealed for all but the most obdurate and ignorant to see, Bahamians have an opportunity to consider what is really important to this country and to them and their families. And the choice is stark.
Under successive FNM administrations, while distracting allegations about the PLP rage, a tiny wealthy elite has enjoyed the transfer to them of ever more of the country’s wealth, while prices have risen and the public purse has been tightened against the majority. The result has been the shrinkage of the middle class and the relative impoverishment of the majority.
Under Ingraham, a consortium dominated by five wealthy families was given a monopoly over everything imported into the island of New Providence by sea, while under Minnis the central post office has been moved into a dying shopping mall owned principally by the Symonette family. Plans to sell what remains of our public assets to profiteers are probably now afoot, too.
On the healthcare front, select private healthcare providers (not to mention the beneficiaries of our needless “health visa”) have made a fortune from a COVID-19 crisis whose impact would have been hugely countered by the publicly funded, single-payer healthcare system which the PLP proposed and the FNM (with the backing of the usual suspects) opposed and scrapped.
While Peter Goudie and others deplore the PLP’s deal with the unions as meaning additional costs to employers, little or nothing is said about the rising costs of food, building materials and medical care that affect mostly the poor. In fact, just over a week ago Super Value readied us for the coming price rise in the country’s main food retailer.
While Bahamian workers pay higher prices yet earn lower wages than the adjacent mainland, our merchant elite are the envy of their counterparts abroad. The Nassau Guardian reported last week that AML foods reported its highest net profits ever this (miserable) year, posting a “staggering” 673 percent increase over 2020. In a recession!
If you believe in policies that keep money in the hands of the rich and subject the remainder of society to austerity in the hope that it will somehow trickle down (rather than up and out), then vote FNM. Just bear in mind that this economic theory has been utterly discredited everywhere it has ever been applied.
If you believe in policies that prioritise publicly funded healthcare, shift taxes onto the idle rich rather than the working poor and reduce the profits of wealthy businesses in favour of more compensation to workers (whose spending drives the whole economy), then vote the FNM out of office.
It really is that simple.
September 5, 2021.