INSIGHT: Yesterday’s PM in spotlight for wrong reasons

FORMER Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis speaking to the press at the regional meeting of Caribbean Heads of Government. Photo: Austin Fernander

FORMER Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis speaking to the press at the regional meeting of Caribbean Heads of Government. Photo: Austin Fernander

By Malcolm Strachan

WHEN considering the issues of the day, it’s often easy to look at what is going on with government.

After all, it’s government that sets the agenda, it’s government that is responsible for dealing with whatever ails people on a daily basis, it’s government that can get on with fixing things.

But sometimes you need to take a look across the aisle at the Opposition.

Of course, there’s FNM leader Michael Pintard, banging the drum lately about Alfred Sears and whether or not he should resign.

Sometimes he’s on target, sometimes he misses the mark – it seems sometimes the FNM feels the need to say something just to be heard to be saying something.

The criticism a while back about police officers going to the Turks & Caicos Islands was of the latter variety. Nothing at all wrong with building up regional partnerships, and that includes a helping hand to others where we are able to offer such.

Some of the criticism around the government response to the FTX meltdown has been of a similar nature. There are, in truth, concerns about the handling of the whole affair – particularly the circumstances surrounding the opening of withdrawals for Bahamian accounts despite a Supreme Court order freezing all assets.

But the FNM settled for some cheap shots initially about the government not defending the nation’s reputation robustly enough or quickly enough.

That seemed like the kind of easy talking point that doesn’t involve any actual digging into the matter to see what issues are really going on – just pointing the finger saying even if you did something, you didn’t do it fast enough.

For all Mr Pintard’s sometimes wayward arrows, however, he has to keep showing there is a presence from the FNM, to seek to hold the government to account.

The man beside him, however, predecessor as party leader Dr Hubert Minnis, has been coming up with some shots at the Davis administration that are just baffling.

Last week, he decided to criticise the government over the murder rate.

Now in truth, the murder rate is shocking. The murder of Christonio Young on Thursday brought that tally up to 126 for the year.

However, Dr Minnis knows as well as anyone that the highest murder count for any year in The Bahamas was in 2015, under the then Christie administration, with 146 murders.

Say a prayer when we talk about it, but it’s highly unlikely there will be another 20 murders between now and the end of the year at the rate things have been going.

So why does he say it? The moment he does it turns heads from looking at what may or may not be going wrong in trying to curtail crime in the country to looking askance at Dr Minnis to wonder why he is likely to be so far off the mark.

Of course, as we hear at every police conference, one murder is too many, and there’s always a slightly unsavoury feeling with murder counts of watching a race that somehow seems inevitable. Even if the murder count doesn’t reach a certain number, there’s still nothing to celebrate with so many killings through the year.

But to see Dr Minnis open his mouth and be so obviously wrong was curious. What was he trying to achieve? If it was to put the spotlight on crime, it instead put the spotlight on himself.

He wasn’t done there last week.

Probably the biggest albatross around his neck from his time as Prime Minister was the Oban debacle.

This was the $5.5bn oil refinery plan that fell apart the moment anyone took a close look at the track records of the people actually involved in it all.

Worse still came during a signing ceremony that appeared to have someone signing a name that wasn’t their own.

And yet, Dr Minnis last week was trying to blame the Christie administration instead.

They did the due diligence, not me, he said. The PLP failed to conduct “proper due diligence” and that meant his government “took the hit”.

He said: “Unfortunately what we did not know was they did not do proper due diligence, and we got caught with that. We took the hit, but government should be continuous. When documents are ready for signing, Memorandums of Understanding, you must assume the former government had done due diligence.”

Of course, there is an old saying about what you make of you and me when you assume.

Instead, it was the newspapers that did the due diligence, and raised concerns about the background of several Oban executives.

It was the kind of information that was relatively easily available publicly, it seems, and Dr Minnis’ excuses sound like a kid telling their teacher that a dog ate their homework. It wasn’t me. Not my fault. That old dog Christie did it.

It’s not like Dr Minnis was just in the door as Prime Minister when the heads of agreement was signed – his government had been in office eight months.

And it’s not like his government was happy to let whatever the previous government had set in place to just keep on rolling. There were plenty of examples of stop, review and cancel going on.

So to suggest it’s the Christie administration’s fault and not his own is disingenuous to say the least. And downright insulting to the public whose best interests his government at the time was supposed to serve.

It prompts questions of how many other projects did he fail to properly investigate, and how much money was thrown at executives whose track record didn’t pass the sniff test let alone proper due diligence.

So in two instances, one trying to be on the attack, one on the defensive, Dr Minnis frankly made a bit of a fool of himself last week.

No longer leader of the country, no longer leader of his party, what exactly is the role Dr Minnis sees for himself now? What future does he see in Parliament?

Whatever it might be, it’s not helped by putting his foot in his mouth so clearly and obviously.

With opposition like that, the government isn’t so much having its feet held to the fire as warming its toes comfortably for winter.


TalRussell 3 months, 1 week ago

Thee Mr. Minnis, shouts knowing the local media will not ask him. nor his colleagues', if Sam Bankrman-Fried's money - or other FTX's peoples, - helped fund the RedParty, --- Yes?


Porcupine 3 months, 1 week ago

Why, oh why, are we expecting better? Apparently the Bahamian people have failed to do our own due diligence every 5 years. How is this not clear? Worse, we have known these jokers, and yet still vote them in. Is this worse than inviting Oban, FTX, or CCA back again?


birdiestrachan 3 months, 1 week ago

Truth be told dr Minnis spends a lot of time attacking Mr Davis it shows that he has been WOUNDED deeply because Mr Davis has the job he desired and wanted to hold on to he is green with eveny and seems not to be able to get over his loss the Doctor was not good for the Bahamas or its people, he lacks the temperament to be a PM as for MR PINTARD HE IS AN EMPTY BARREL MAKING MUCH NOISE


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