The Great return of FNMs have begun under Minnis
The Bahamian government is being roundly criticized by thousands of Bahamians, and rightly so, based on the way it is spending our money while being warned by local economists and financiers and international rating agencies to cut expenses.
It has thus far not been able to raise sufficient revenue to sustain the current level of expenditure.
What has the government done thus far in response? It has failed to collect outstanding real property tax, which now stands in excess of one half of a billion dollars.
And in fact, in its 2002 to 2007 term in office one of its present consultants, who was then a part of the Cabinet, suggested a total write-off of the outstanding balance.
In what appears to have been a “thank you” for their support in the May 7, 2012 general election, it has re-engaged hundreds of retired civil servants and public officers to the various ministries and departments from whence they came.
This government believes in Bahamians and this must also mean that its members respect us.
And so, we need to be informed of the total financial impact these re-engagements have had on the public treasury and the current deficit.
We also need to know the terms and salaries for each person rehired, the identity of each one and the area (specific) or department that re-engaged them.
Enquiring minds want and need to know.
It is bad enough that we have a 21-member Cabinet plus three parliamentary secretaries.
But that a job had to be found for every PLP member of Parliament, for the few who were unsuccessful in their bids to be elected and even for those who sought but did not obtain nominations? My-my!
The question is asked: Is this any way to run a country?
We are also astounded at the choice of diplomats and consultants which gives the impression that this government does not believe in the young people in its ranks or someone is asleep at the political wheel.
Those persons who have accepted jobs on re-hire and who have already received their respective gratuities and are being paid their pensions – and noting the thousands of persons who are jobless, including some who are qualified for the (rehired) jobs – should be ashamed of themselves.
This raises the question: Is there any shame left among us?
What has not helped us as a country over the years is the “blame game” that majority governments have played since majority rule was ushered in the year of our Lord 1967.
The first PLP government for the period 1967 to 1992 (25 years successively) blamed the UBP/Bay Street Boys and used the race card extensively.
Perhaps the UBP blamed the colonial office back in the day. Upon it ascension to office the FNM blamed the PLP – and at the time rightly so due to the many things that went wrong on their (PLP) watch including when we were labeled a “Nation for Sale” and “Paradise Lost” in the drug trafficking era at its peak.
In the reign of the former PLP some who are now considered “national heroes” left us with some classic comments: “If you can’t fish cut bait; if you can’t cut bait then get the hell out of the boat;” “God gave this land to the PLP”; “I’m only taking care of PLPs and Father, Son and Holy Ghost can’t tell me different.”
Of course in the latter instance he was defended by a leader of a prestigious organization who said that he did not really mean what he said but rather it was said in the heat of a political battle. In the enlightened age of the FNM (1992 to 2002), the age of transparency and accountability, some effort was made to treat Bahamians fairly across the board; but the effort was not always successful, as so many of us can attest to.
In recent years (2002 to 2012), it has been back and forth and the blame game has been resumed in earnest and the debate has raged on over the economy, the deficit, the national debt, job losses, job creation, crime (including many different kinds), work permits, citizenship applications, immigration (legal and illegal), shantytowns, BTC, CWC, who built the most houses on their watch, who showed the most interest/concern for Bahamians, oil, consultants, web shops, diversification, constituency allowances, urban renewal, points of order, responsibility for the collective mess that the county finds itself in, law and order and the list as they say goes on and on.
While all this “you say and I say” is going on, it is perhaps worth reminding fellow Bahamians that from the time of internal self-government to date, a period of about 50 years, and this is perhaps a major part of the problem, we have had two premiers (Sir Roland Symonette and Sir Lynden Pindling) and three prime ministers (Sir Lynden Pindling, Hubert A. Ingraham and Perry G. Christie). In other words, four men have guided our destiny in that period, three of whom have been recycled.
Many Bahamians have their personal views of who has done/is doing a good job in the office of prime minister. Many too are already looking forward to 2017 and see that time as one when there will be real change in the country – which is badly needed after 50 years. And Bahamians should be eagerly looking forward and not backward. Forward ever, backward never.
There is much speculation as to who will succeed the current PLP leader and prime minister but there should be none, God willing, as to who the next leader of our country will be. Certain sections of the media (print and electronic) and certain personalities seem to be longing for the good old days. There are even those who write columns under assumed names who have made and continue to make disparaging remarks about the current leader of the opposition who was unanimously elected to that position on May 26, 2012 when it became vacant.
Despite the naysayers the leader [Dr. Hubert Minnis], who like the previous leader came from very humble beginnings having grown up in Bain and Grants Town, will in my view due to his levelheadedness ultimately become a very fine leader of our Commonwealth.
He has shown that he continues to be an excellent representative in his constituency, being the only one in New Providence to substantially increase his margin of victory over the results of 2007 in the 2012 elections. So let us as FNMs build him up by working with him and look to the day when once again we can have change we can all believe in with good governance – especially in the critical areas of immigration, transparency and accountability.
These editor are some of the thoughts of an individual who has been there since the birth of the Free National Movement, including the several changes that were made to make us the party that we presently are. No turning back!
– Oswald C. Munnings