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The good, the mad and the ugly

Published: Sep 27, 2013

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Dear Editor,

Some have questioned if I am a real supporter of the Progressive liberal Party (PLP). Let me say now, without fear of sustainable contradiction or rebuttal, that I am. Not always proud but, nevertheless, in for the long haul.

Historically, the PLP has always been seen as the political party of choice for the average Bahamian. All of our major institutions were conceived and developed by PLP administrations, starting with the late, great and deeply lamented Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling.

Other good things about the PLP are that it conceived and encouraged the emergence of the so-called middle class within our wonderful nation and the introduction of universal education under the active guidance of the late Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield and Sir Carlton E. Francis, et al.

The ranks of the learned professions, inclusive of lawyers, medical doctors, accountants and educators were rapidly expanded and today we are, despite our mundane and pervasive challenges, a regional powerhouse.

These are some of the good things wrought by the PLP, largely, with a little help and input from the Free National Movement (FNM) and its erstwhile leader, my good friend Hubert Alexander Ingraham.

Along with the good, however, often come the mad and the ugly. What comprises the mad aspects of the PLP? Under successive PLP administrations, ministers and some parliamentarians have too often proven to be scandal prone.

The late Wilbert Moss, a close confidant of Sir Lynden back in the day, actually went to Fox Hill prisons for attempting to bribe a sitting magistrate. Another PLP representative, the late Simeon Bowe, God rest the dead, was caught up in the so-called PVP pipe scandal. Others have opined that under the first dispensation of Christie that other ministers were found wanting.

It is a strange sight to see many PLP politicians enter the House of Assembly dead broke but when they leave after five years, most of them are declared millionaires and own extensive real estate. During campaigns they are to be seen all over the place acting as if they really believe in Bahamians. Of course, many of them are engaged in flam and really could care less about the electorate once they would have been anointed with political power.

Mind you, the FNM is just as bad, if not worse. We do not have a recall electoral system in The Bahamas, so that once general elections are concluded we are stuck between a rock and a very hard place. Inept, inefficient and possibly corrupt parliamentarians are able to laugh all the way to the bank at our collective expense.

An inept PLP politician is clearly the minister of foreign affairs and immigration. The ongoing saga with the so-called Cuban detainees is playing out, ad nauseum, to the detriment of our international reputation. While the economic fallout is not yet apparent, there will, no doubt, be some.

The good minister opined that there is none while his Cabinet colleague, the minister of tourism, says differently. I love how the deputy prime minister and minister of works put it the other day. If Cuban-Americans have an issue it should be with the Castro regime and not with the people and government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

Fred Mitchell should just delegate his parliamentary secretary and permanent secretary to engage in mid-level talks with the Cuban-Americans over in Florida to get to the root of this nonsensical matter. The PM need not get involved and waste precious time by appearing to give legitimacy to Sanchez and crew. This is a big part of the mad in this debilitating administration.

The fiasco with school repairs is yet another maddening aspect of this gold rush administration. The minister of education, an esteemed and personal friend and former business associate, had months during the summer recess to ensure that all relevant remedial work and repairs were done to all of our schools. His permanent secretary and the director of education should hang their heads in shame on a botched job. In fact, they owe the people of this nation an abject apology.

Rodent-infested schools? Mold all over the place? Malfunctioning air conditioning units? Claims of sabotage coming from the minister without his presenting any credible or other evidence? A big public and most unseemly row with the very teachers who are mandated by the administration to educate our little darlings is pathetic. Grown and intelligent people should be able to sit down and dialogue.

The ugly part of this administration is its in-your-face sort of attitude towards supporters in particular and the general public, generally speaking. It is as if the administration is doing us some sort of favor. The PLP was elected to govern for the betterment of all Bahamians and not just the selected few within that party who may be in the good graces of the leadership.

The PM himself is now mostly missing in action and unavailable to ordinary Bahamians. He is able to find the time to entertain the Haitian president and to have photo ops with all sorts of foreign characters. He will even give them a lift in his official car but the unwashed masses, especially those in Farm Road, are brushed off and denied access to His Royal Highness.

Institutions of government are now, openly, being utilized to support, enhance and enforce the public policy positions of the PLP and its party apparatus. In many cases, the boys are back in full force to the overt detriment of younger and more qualified Bahamians.

High ranking members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force now seem to be loyal supporters of the PLP, with the greatest of respect to them, and they know of whom I speak. The ugly part about this exercise, however, is that they, in most cases, could care less about public perception.

Yes, the good, the bad and the ugly are being played out right in front of our very eyes. Hope and help, however, are just around the corner. Waiting in the wings, while observing protocol, order and decency, is an individual who will restore sanity, good governance and wipe away the tears from every eye. We all know who he is and it is only a matter of time before his advent will come.

Until then, however, to God, in all things, be the glory.

– Ortland H. Bodie Jr.

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