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A failed state or what?

Published: Sep 23, 2013

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Dear Editor,

Ordinarily, a nation which is referred to as a failed state is one which is confronted by societal, economic and cultural problems which it seems incapable of offering real solutions to.

The Bahamas today is fast approaching that situation but I am of the very strong view that the PLP and some of its leaders are about to arrest and devoid that perception. Yes, the PLP got off to a very bad start after the 2012 general election and its antics, missteps and bad policy implementation have left a terrible taste in our collective mouths.

The PLP, however, as led by the esteemed leader, Perry Gladstone Christie (PLP-Centreville), is now getting its act together. Foreign direct investment is gradually creeping upwards and employment opportunities are coming on stream.

While I have differences with the minister of national security, it is now obvious that he is beginning to actually listen to the on-the-ground suggestions of ordinary Bahamians. This is a good thing and indicates that, finally, the gold rush has come down from its high horse.

The establishment of a semi-base at South Beach has long been advocated for by me. Not only will the establishment of such a base be a deterrent to the illegal landing of foreign nationals but it will bring a degree of comfort to thousands of Bahamians who live in that area. A similar base needs to be established in the Lyford Cay area posthaste.

The issue of the Privy Council on its judicial side must also be addressed. While we do not wish to execute convicted and sentenced murders at whim, it is necessary that those who would have exhausted all appeals be put to death in accordance with the law.

The Bail Act must be revisited and bail should not be granted, as a matter of course, for people accused of violent offenses. Yes, one is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty but common sense must prevail. The proposed Marco Law is a pie-in-the-sky and a knee-jerk reaction, despite being well intentioned. A Sexual Offenders’ Registry, in our context, would be unconstitutional, save and where an accused sexual offender would have exhausted all formal appeals.

I appreciate that National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage is not a law expert, as is the minister of state for national security, Senator Keith Bell, but he needs to draw back from such a wide sweeping legislative attempt.

People who would have been convicted and sentenced multiple times and whose appellate process would have been completed should and must be placed on such a registry. Others, who are still in the system, must be afforded due process, painful as it might be for society at large.

The PM really needs to let go of the BTC saga and concentrate on the liberalization of the cellular system next March and the licensing of ‘new’ telephone companies. BTC is a done deal clad in iron and the PM is wasting precious time talking fool about 51 percent or otherwise.

Garbage collection in New Providence is a national disgrace of unprecedented proportions. Who are the private companies who received contracts to collect garbage, constituency by constituency? When was the bidding process initiated or completed? During campaigns the PLP lambasted the FNM, as did the FNM the PLP, about garbage collection in New Providence. Peter is no better than Paul.

A failed state is a misnomer when it comes to our wonderful country. I simply believe that the PLP is focusing on small issues and not the bigger picture. Its public relations department is in shambles and the national chairman has to accept the blame for the same.

Bradley Roberts is a personal friend and benefactor. He is more than aware that Bahamians do not ask for or expect too much from our politicians. What we expect and demand, however, is common sense governance, a perception of accountability from our political masters and decorum. No more, no less.

BEC needs to be reorganized. Philip Brave Davis (PLP-Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador), minister of works and deputy prime minister, along with Leslie Osbourne Miller (PLP-Tall Pines), with a large degree of input from Renward Wells (PLP-Bamboo Town), parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Works, are up to the task. BEC will have to be semi-privatized with at least 51 percent being retained by the people of this wonderful nation.

Another power generating plant, however, to be solely owned by the private sector must be sanctioned for New Providence and for areas of Grand Bahama other than Freeport. Consumers should and must have an alternative choice. The high cost of electricity in the capital and Freeport is literally ‘killing’ residential and commercial consumers. A change must come, sooner rather than later.

Our roads in New Providence, with the exception of the works heralded in by the former Ingraham administration, leave much to be desired. Brave has his work cut out for him. Road reversals along Market Street and Baillou Hill Road are mandatory.

The minister of education and his staff messed up the timely rehabilitation of our schools nationwide. Instead of appearing to be engaging in a petty tit for tat with the misguided teachers’ union, the ministry needs to get the job done while having meaningful discussions, behind closed doors, with the union.

Bahamas Union of Teachers President Belinda Wilson et al. also need to understand that this is not all about her and her members, but rather about the education and success of our students. I call upon all sensible stakeholders to step up to the plate and to do the right thing.

No, we are not yet a failed sate but we are rapidly approaching such a scenario. Let us build a nation of which we are all able to be proud. At this time, the PLP is our ‘best’ hope, as the FNM is too busy trying to sort out, once and for all, who is ‘leader’, who is ‘Indian’ and who is ‘squaw’. Will Hubert Ingraham, once again, be forced to come out of a half-hearted retirement? I predict that he will be drafted, once again, to lead a demoralized, disjointed and disorientated FNM.

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

– Ortland H. Bodie Jr.


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