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The inertia of the FNM

Published: Sep 20, 2013

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Dear Editor,

The gold rush administration (PLP) is on the ropes in the political arena. It came to office with my total support and on promises and commitments, which when made, they knew they could not fulfill realistically and fiscally. Bahamians by and large, however, swallowed the bait and were caught on the hook.

Bad governance, political cronyism, arrogance, and bluster are the order of the day with this crew. While I still support the PLP that support is rapidly evaporating. There are too many ordinary Bahamians who are being or have been left behind. In fact, instead of having a seat or at least standing room on the bus, so to speak, many have been thrown, literally, under the bus.

The economy will improve with or without imaginative fiscal and policy initiatives by the PLP as that of the U.S. gets back on its feet. All the PLP really has to do is to do ‘nothing’ and let it all play out. The more it seeks to articulate and implement public policy, the more it shows that its administration is devoid of good and workable managerial skills.

With the PLP being on the ropes this would appear to be an ideal time for the Free National Movement (FNM) to capitalize on the overt deficiencies of the gold rush administration.

Garbage cannot be collected, roads are in disrepair, political hackers and others aligned with that party are creased up in well-paying jobs for which they are absolutely unqualified; crime is unabated, employment is still very vexing and there is no apparent vision or development plan for the country. Illegal immigration and migration are killing us softly.

Communications and public relations are crucial in politics. Yet, both major parties, and even the fringe ones, seem to be totally incapable of articulating and maintaining dialogue and involvement with the people.

The Christie-led administration is squandering its political capital on the altar of custodial leadership where it expects policy to be driven by its parliamentary caucus. In the U.S. this is known as ‘the Buchanan’ style.

Named after President James Buchanan, such leaders are relaxed, disconnected from day-to-day events but are wont to claim that they are ‘president’ or ‘prime minister’ ad nauseum while the nation crumbles. Subscribers to this style of leadership also postulate that the leader should be or appear to be ‘aloof’ from mundane politics and less as active chief executives.

A bad message was sent by the fact that the only head of government at Perry Christie’s recent birthday party was the Haitian president. That individual ‘interfered’ in Bahamian politics just before the last general election when he told his countrymen to support and vote for the party which had their interests at heart.

The last time I checked, I was unaware that Haitians could vote in The Bahamas. Obviously, many of them voted for the party which has their interests at heart. At the gala birthday party, Christie took Martelly on a tour of his in-house musical recording studio. He is singing and dancing while Bahamians must listen to the jukebox and the same old songs.

Christie was also told by the president of Haiti (and apparently The Bahamas) that his gold rush administration must find some jobs for the millions of Haitians who are unable to find employment in Hispaniola.

We don’t know Christie’s response but he indicated that he was going to host a concert at the national stadium and that he wanted Martelly to come and perform so that they could fill the stadium to capacity. With Bahamians or Haitians?

Is it not strange that every few weeks Haitian boats are able to crawl up from the south and bring unknown numbers of illegal Haitians to New Providence? Is there complicity by our authorities? When was the last time that one would have heard of a repatriation exercise involving Haitians?

When was the last ‘raid’ and roundup of people of this nationality? When was the first or last time that minister Frederick Audley Mitchell spoke about this vexing and never-ending situation?

Social services is allegedly ‘denying’ indigenous Bahamians access to funding and housing but rushed up to Joe Farrington Road and down to Mackey Yard to assist our Haitian brothers and sisters? While we should have Christian compassion for all nationalities should we not take care of our own household first?

The inertia of the FNM on these and other issues is pathetic in the extreme. Its leadership cadre is reluctant or incapable to appearing on real talk shows and in the public domain to account for its posture. Instead, it prefers to oppose by press release and in-house cannibalism.

Its leader, Dr. Hubert Alexander Minnis (FNM-Killarney), must soon come to the realization that politics in this nation is not akin to playing doll house. He has been lambasted by the media, inclusive of my favorite individual, Candia Dames, as lacking in leadership skills and charisma. Others have sought to apply even worst labels to him.

Minnis does have a laid-back style of leadership and he will have to address this issue immediately. I have told him before, publicly, that he needs to project a different aura and needs to get rid of his Ingrahamite advisors.

Those individuals are toting a big brief for the former prime minister and are pinning for his return to high office, even if it means destroying Minnis, politically, in the ignoble process. They could care less about the apparent decimation of the FNM and the public humiliation of Minnis so long as ‘The Chief’ returns to lead the Indians in time for 2017.

Minnis has what it takes to lead the FNM and he is prime ministerial material but he may not yet realize this. He is a ‘Lincoln-type’ leader. Such leaders are active politicians and are capable of rallying the country to a crisis. He is able to lead public opinion and is the major source of the goals of the nation. This is the stance and style of leadership which must immediately be adopted hook, line and sinker by Minnis.

If he fails or refuses to do so, he will be defanged, declawed and eaten alive by his political detractors both within and without the FNM. He is in a unique position seeing that the gold rush is on the ropes in the political arena.

Again, let me state that I am a firm supporter of the gold rush administration but I am not a fanatical one. My personal choice for eventual leadership in the PLP is Philip Brave Davis (PLP-Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador). Under Brave most, if not all, of the economic and societal issues which confront us will be eliminated or reduced to the irreducible minimum.

The FNM, however, holds itself out to be the official opposition. Minnis is the prime minister in waiting, or so he says, but does he really believe this? Where is Branville McCartney in all of this? The Democratic National Alliance ‘appointed’ or selected an interim chairman the other night (or was it during day time) in the form of one Andrew Wilson.

While I wish them well, I have advised McCartney to stop playing cute and to return to the arms of his first love, the FNM. Hard head, however, makes good bird soup.

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

– Ortland H. Bodie Jr.

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