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Political will power and progress

Published: Sep 09, 2013

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Dear Editor,

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has a date with history, even if it does not yet know it. The Bahamas is conflicted with many social, economic and cultural issues. We as a people, however, are resilient.

The real problem with overcoming these issues rests, squarely, with leadership and political will power. Progress on a national level will only be achieved when focused leadership comes into play.

Perry Christie is fast becoming gaffe prone and needs to put his brain in gear before he mouths off on sublime issues. To have told the media the other day that he was tired and had to go home after declining to take questions from the journalists present was terrible. Such utterances make him look like a tired and worn-out leader. He could have just said that he could not take questions then but that he would address the nation within a matter of days. His advisors need to be replaced immediately before even more political damage is done.

Christie is the de jure leader of the PLP, but in recent times he seems to be a mere appendage to that iconic political force. Bahamians are reeling from any number of pertinent issues and are looking for solace, guidance and leadership. These, alas, are sorely lacking under the benign leadership style, if it may be referred to as such, under Christie.

The recently hosted “crime forum” was a waste of good time and scarce financial resources. We all, by now, know the root causes of crime. The question is what are we going to do to implement viable and simple solutions?

Dr. Bernard Nottage is another “good” man but, like most of our politicians, he acts as the sole repository of knowledge, crime-wise, in this wonderful country of ours. He has absolutely no experience with fighting crime. As a one-time nemesis of Christie, a bone had to be thrown his way but the Ministry of National Security? He may be more useful as a minister without portfolio if he must sit around the Cabinet table.

Bahamians want to hear directly from Christie on the vexing issue of crime and punishment. Of course, that might not make a difference but we want assurances that the leader is on top of his game and, at the least, is “feeling” the pain of the average citizen.

Most of our politicians live in ivory towers and appear to have forgotten what it is to live day to day. No one expects them to be able to walk on water but we expect them to at least appear to have empathy and some degree of compassion, even if faked, for the population.

Nottage’s persona and facial features, as nice as they are, do not convey these attributes, with all due respect. Senator Keith Bell, the minister of state in the Ministry of National Security, would be a far better choice to actually, substantively, lead this vital ministry. I now call on the PM, if he has the political will power, to immediately shuffle the Cabinet.

Nottage needs to go as he is clearly out of his depth. Mitchell, as minister with responsibility for immigration, has proven to be an unmitigated disaster. Tourism is declining even as you read this contribution. Airlift is decreasing, the tourism product is outdated and a mostly unimaginative experience.

Housing has been stagnant for almost a year and a half. Garbage is not being collected and the environment is going, if it has not yet already done so, straight to hell. Healthcare is minimal at best and far too expensive for ordinary Bahamians.

No sensible Bahamian can or should blame all of our issues on the gold rush but that is the administration which is in power and it was the PLP which stated that if elected it would reform and restructure the nation. Has it done so or is it too early to judge its performance or lack of it?

Sir Lynden, God rest his soul, was a leader without equal in the Bahamian context. Hubert Ingraham’s personality is brash and in your face, but he is a leader. Christie is able to convey a sense of good feeling, but is he a real leader?

Too tired and have to go home? Was this prophecy? Did flesh and blood tell him to utter those words or was it, whether he knew it or not, the voice of the Holy Spirit? Fortunately, within the PLP there is a man of action, leadership and vision in the wings waiting for due season to come into play.

To God then, in all things, be the glory.

– Ortland H. Bodie Jr.

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