March and then vote
Published: Mar 20, 2017
We are entering the final days of the current Parliament. This week’s sittings may be the last before it is dissolved and a general election called. Perry Christie and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) have exhausted their mandate. It’s time to go back to the people.
Christie’s message is simple. He thinks Bahamians will buy that Dr. Hubert Minnis, the Free National Movement (FNM) leader, is a worse leader than he is. As we have said before, this is a horrible argument. There is consensus that Christie has failed. His party said it would do better on crime. We got murder records instead. His party said it would do better on the economy. We have had four years of no growth and unemployment remains in the double digits.
Christie’s party has sat and watched the state electricity supplier have meltdown after meltdown with no policy solution to remedy, or begin to remedy, the problem. Let’s not forget the landfill in New Providence. It is still smoldering. Bahamians who live nearby are breathing in toxic smoke. This was a known problem when Christie came to office. It remains so five years later.
The activist group We March Bahamas has done a good job getting Bahamians on the streets. Its two marches were impressive – especially the second on Majority Rule Day, during which thousands attended.
We March is planning its third march on April 2 to highlight a number of issues. The march is in protest of carnival, the landfill fire, the so-called spy bill, to unseal the Baha Mar sale documents, for an election date to be set and for the government to stop interfering with police in the crime fight.
“We are marching to the prime minister,” said organizer Ranard Henfield.
Both the prime minister’s office and home are in the area. The April 2 march will begin at 4 p.m. at Scotiabank in Cable Beach.
If the march does not get the response the group wants from the government, We March will “publicly endorse another political party” in an effort to ensure the PLP is not re-elected, Henfield told The Nassau Guardian yesterday.
We can tell Henfield now that he won’t get satisfaction from the PLP. Hence, his group will have to endorse another. Henfield is becoming pragmatic. Marching is good. It brings pressure on governments. Street protests brought governments down during the Arab Spring. They brought down Iceland’s prime minister. The impeachment and removal from office of the South Korean president was pushed along by large street demonstrations.
But for us, so close to an election, the ultimate goal must be the country selecting a more competent government and prime minister when we vote. Christie will not change. He falls asleep in public. He rambles incoherently when he gets away from his prepared remarks. He stuck his middle finger up in public in front of scores of Bahamians in Fox Hill. Just a few days ago Christie walked past a podium at a mini-rally where he was supposed to speak, seeming lost.
All Bahamians who are angry must realize something simple: If you want Christie gone you have to vote him out by unifying behind one of the opposition parties. Not voting doesn’t help. Spoiling your ballot doesn’t help. To get a new government you must place your X next to a party capable of forming one. That party may not be perfect, but if in your mind it is better than Christie and the PLP, you should vote for that group.
It is common for activists to side with parties. That doesn’t mean the activists will be with that party forever. It’s just a view by the dissenters that this opposition group, here and now, is better for the country than the governing party.
March. But make sure you are registered too. Then on election day express your disgust at the ballot box. Make sure your frustration leads to change. Complaining on the sideline won’t improve our country.