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Politicians, governance and the media


Published: Oct 05, 2013

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Dear Editor,

 

Some opine that a love/hate relationship exists between politicians and the media. This might very well be so, but I suggest that, if it exists, it is due mainly to the adverse stance often taken by the politicians and their surrogates.

In The Bahamas, our politicians and the wannabes love to court and manipulate the media, both print and electronic, when seeking office or reelection. They grant interviews and appear on television and radio talk shows ad nauseum to garner free publicity and to assure the electorate that they believe in them and that they have the solutions to all of our problems.

Once in office, they become aloof almost overnight, change and replace cellular telephone numbers, duck constituents and become missing in action.

Instead of seeming to advance the interests of ordinary Bahamians, the elected politicians, especially those who are appointed to the Cabinet or to the coveted chairmanship of important governmental corporations, become laser focused on securing material wealth and accumulating power within their domain.

Both of the players in the major parties are guilty of this. It is not the fault of the media if elected politicians are reluctant or afraid to appear on radio talk shows or to grant extensive public and on the record interviews. They often forget or pretend to do so, especially those of ministerial rank who are supposed to be working on behalf of ordinary Bahamians.

It is sickening to see the way the political supporters of successful parties line up at the trough for governmental contracts and sinecures.

Those are doled out, and those who are not perceived to be loyal allies get absolutely nothing. All of the benefits which this nation has to offer should and must be available for all Bahamians, regardless of political affiliation. To add insult to injury, political recipients of largesse strut around crowing that “my party is in power” as a mantra and a badge of honor while the less connected remain in abject poverty and political isolation.

We are basically a selfish people. Once we have a job (preferably a government one), a roof (rented or owned) over our heads, a bit of sex and a means of transportation, to hell with the rest of our people.

I am not suggesting that we need or even would want a dose of socialism but, surely, we are about uplifting all Bahamians.

Those of us who are successful materially should lend a helping hand to the less fortunate, where appropriate.

Politicians, however, are cynical in the extreme. Yes, they believe in Bahamians when campaigning, but once elected, it is a whole new ball game. The electorate becomes mere passive spectators in a childish game of catch me if you can. This is unacceptable as we are dealing with real people and their lives.

The PLP means well, and it has a golden opportunity to craft and shape itself, once again, as the party of the ordinary Bahamian.

On October 26, the iconic PLP will be celebrating its 60th year as a political entity of note.

The party must get back to its original objectives, and it must, once again, allow people to believe that it is the party of choice for the masses.

Its leadership cadre must cease to hold an adversarial position towards the media. We are not about to embarrass the leaders or the implementation of the party’s policies just for the sake of opposing.

Perry Christie needs a makeover and he needs to host regular press events. He should address the nation now on the vexing issues of unemployment and crime.

In fact, the party, which I support, should host a mega-rally on the date of the 60th anniversary at R.M. Bailey Park or Windsor Park.

The party also needs to establish a press office within the Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling complex on Farrington Road and distance itself, as a party, from Bahamas Information Services. The fourth estate is a vital and important segment of the established pillars of governance and there is absolutely no need for politicians and governments to avoid or fear it.

Sure, we all want to feel and appear to be important as human beings, but should we also not treat others as important (as they are) also? Without the electorate, at least in a democracy, the politicians are really just tin gods, iron men and plastic maidens.

The media is able to make or break politicians and to cause the early demise of governments.

This is in no way, shape or form a threat to the powers that be but they maltreat, ignore or abuse the media to their own detriment. All of us are mere actors and bit players on the stage called The Bahamas. In a few short years, we will all go the way of the fabled dodo.

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

 

– Ortland H. Bodie Jr.


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