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Perry Christie and the PLP’s blah, blah, blah government

SIMON
frontporchguardian@gmail.com

Published: Sep 26, 2013

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Imagine many years hence an anthropologist at the University of The Bahamas using digital recordings of the ZNS evening news broadcast to conduct research on Perry Christie’s years as prime minister. What might they discover?

As a gift to posterity and to help future researchers save time and effort, we are already able to pass on some insights which will only solidify over time.

Notably, Christie and the ZNS evening broadcast share a singular trait. They are incorrigibly late, again and again and again. It seems that ZNS, despite decades in operation, is daily caught by surprise that the evening news is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., not 7:02 or 7:05 or 7:07.

ZNS, like the Christie administration, seems incapable of being embarrassed by the poor quality of so much that it does and its sheer and entrenched incompetence.

As an aside, the day that the two leading print journals revealed details of a report on alleged abuse at the detention center, the state evening broadcast news failed to report the story. Were they commanded to do so as an act of censorship by their political minders and bosses?

How free is ZNS today to report stories critical of the PLP? For many, why is 2013 starting to feel like the 1970s and 80s at ZNS?

Meanwhile, forget the numbers’ houses. Perhaps the government might consider a national lottery that has as the winning combination the exact time that the ZNS evening news broadcast begins, with the additional prize of a ZNS news mug for anyone guessing 7 p.m. Supplies of the mug are unlikely to run out.

Perhaps there can be a “Straight Seven Jackpot” payout, the winner having wagered correctly the staggered times the news begins seven nights running, which will be a monumental accomplishment. There can also be payouts for three out of seven nights or five out of seven. The combinations are endless.

How foolish to imagine such a lottery. It was already defeated in a national referendum that proved to be a spectacular failure for Christie and his new and improved Gold Rush PLP that would be ready in the First 100 Days and from day one to build a bridge to the future as the government of hope and help committed to Urban Renewal 2.0 and putting Bahamians first.

Were there an international prize for sloganeering as a substitute for ideas and governance, the PLP would consistently win it, with its endless ability to produce more slogans than common sense and action once in office.

Then there would be the Bahamian television broadcast award for political showboating and theater, jointly awarded to ZNS and the Christie administration.

Story one on the evening news: Perry Christie said today, “Blah, blah, blah.” Second story: Perry Christie said today, “Blah, blah, blah.” And just for a change in the third story: Perry Christie said today, “Blah, blah, blah.”

This is the blah, blah, blah government in two senses. First, it is an uninspiring and visionless government. Secondly, as before, this is a government of plenty talk and little action.

During and after his rambling meanderings, one knows that the prime minister said something. The problem is that one is not exactly sure what he’s actually said.

As opposed to those times, sometimes he literally says nothing, despite promising a fuller accounting. The country is still waiting for Christie to provide more details on his and the PLP’s relationship with Peter Nygard.

Then, there is Christie’s pretzel-like comments. Having repeatedly postponed speaking before the Constitutional Reform Commission, the prime minister sought a clever out, perhaps convincing to him, but unconvincing to most Bahamians. His excuse: He didn’t want to prejudice the commission. Really?

Perhaps ZNS can provide a useful service, namely a canned laugh track as used in situation comedies. It can be played whenever the prime minister offers a comment for which laughter is the best medicine and response.

As reported in the press, the governor general, the leader of the opposition and many notable Bahamians found the time to prepare for and to appear before the commission.

Cue laughter: Christie contradicted himself by stating that his attorney general had already offered the government’s thoughts. Why didn’t he say that when he canceled appearing before the commission for the second time and counting?

Did the attorney general prejudice the commission by speaking on behalf of the Christie administration?

The saying goes, “If you don’t laugh, you’ll weep.” Listening to the prime minister’s tortured rationales for his inaction and bumbling incompetence is likely to produce tears of laughter, sometimes just weeping, and sometimes the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Mind you, the same prime minister who did not find the time to appear before the commission did find time to deliver a lecture on constitutional reform. He had plenty to say on that occasion.

What he did not say and did not do, was to accept responsibility for making the referenda process in The Bahamas more politically difficult and charged, more of which in a subsequent column.

When he’s not too tired to answer questions, answers to which he solemnly promised long ago, Christie is busy making speeches and excuses as a substitute for governing.

He seems still to believe that talk is action. Like a genie, he must believe that when he speaks, things are supposed to materialize. See for easy reference: National stadium, National Health Insurance and doubling the investment in the national education budget.

The prime minister recently said that he knows that Bahamians are frustrated. The problem is that he may not appreciate that Bahamians are mostly frustrated with his poor leadership of a government that is performing even worse than the do-nothing years of 2007 to 2012.

Ranking PLPs and younger PLPs, including many professionals, are soured on and vex with a feckless administration careening from one crisis to the next, with a prime minister barely in control of his own government.

Christie’s response, “Blah, blah, blah...”, all of which can be seen on the ZNS evening news beginning at only God knows when. Stay tuned and be prepared to laugh and to weep.

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