Oswald Brown Writes! Special Sunday Edition on the ‘School yard bully’
By OSWALD T. BROWN
I did not see the televised press conference held by former Prime Minister Hubert “THE DICTATOR” Ingraham after he handed in his resignation to the Speaker of the House of Assembly last Thursday, but repeated references have been made on Facebook about his undignified behavior and, as Bahamas Press reported, “his vicious and brutal attack against the Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas and, in particular, news anchor Keisha Smith-Adderley, who was in no position to defend herself.”
This sort of behaviour by Ingraham is not surprising. During his most recent five-year tenure as Prime Minister, he repeatedly exhibited the behaviour of a “school yard bully,” after realizing that he could do whatever he wished and no member of his Cabinet had the backbone to challenge him on any decision he made.
And the mainstream media allowed him to get away with this sort of behaviour because of outright bias, in the case of The Tribune, or fear of being victimized, in the case of most of the reporters at The Nassau Guardian who are well aware of the influence Ingraham has with the owners of that daily newspaper.
Of course, there was absolutely no justification for Ingraham’s vicious verbal assault on Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade, mainly because the commissioner had high praise for the success that the new PLP government’s Urban Renewal 2.0 program is having in communities around the country. Ingraham’s criticism of Commissioner Greenslade removed all doubt as to whom former Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing received his instructions to similarly castigate the police commissioner a couple days earlier.
It is laughable that this tandem—Ingraham and Laing—could believe that the Bahamian people would view their criticism of the police commissioner as being valid and justified, given the fact that they are the two individuals who are primarily responsible for the poor state of this country’s economy and, by extension, the tremendous pain and suffering Bahamians had to endure under the FNM government over the past five years.
It is now a generally accepted fact among the majority of Bahamians that Ingraham, as Minister of Finance, and Laing, as Minister of State for Finance, totally mismanaged this country’s finances and used the excuse of a global financial crisis to cover up for their inept and incompetent stewardship of our economy.
Personally, I consider Ellison Greenslade to be an excellent Commissioner of Police, a conclusion that’s based on his performance at Assistant Commissioner of Police for the Northern Region, which includes rand Bahama, for seven years before being moved back to New Providence. As editor of The Freeport News at the time, I wrote several editorials praising him for his hands-on approach to policing and his willingness to be more just an administrator. In one of those editorials, I made the point that he is a “policeman’s policeman.”
Many residents of Grand Bahama will well remember that during the devastating hurricanes that hit the island in 1994, he was out there in the neighbourhoods personally assisting individual families. Indeed, there was a classic photo of him in The Freeport News in the “bucket” or a backhoe assisting some residents stranded on the second floor of a building.
Yet, we have former Prime Minister Ingraham and his “lapdog” protégé Laing questioning the sincerity of this outstanding Commissioner of Police. I cry shame, shame, shame on them.
In my view, it is vitally important that the new leader of the FNM, Dr. Hubert Minnis, makes it absolutely clear to Ingraham that “democratic leadership” is now back in place among the hierarchy of the FNM and they should be allowed to lay a proper foundation for the party’s political rebirth in the aftermath of Ingraham’s dictatorial, one-man-band leadership over the past five years.
The sooner the better, if the FNM is to stand a chance to position itself to make a credible attempt to again become the government of The Bahamas in the 2027 general election. Certainly, Ingraham has done so much damage to the FNM that it is unlikely it can regain enough political respectability to be seriously considered by the electorate as an alternative government before then.