Oswald Brown Writes
By OSWALD T. BROWN
I did not watch the proceedings in The House of Assembly on Thursday when an incident reportedly occurred between Frank Smith and Kwazi Thompson, so I can’t intelligently comment on what happened.
What I do know is that Kwazi Thompson is a lawyer, and as the Deputy Speaker of the House, he should have known that he was breaking the House rules by insisting on presenting a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) minority report after PAC Chairman Dr. Bernard Nottage had tabled the substantive report in the House of Assembly. The fact is that the minority report should have been attached to the report tabled by Dr. Nottage.
Of course, Speaker of the House Alvin Smith throughout his tenure as speaker has left no doubt that he is biased to the core in favour of the FNM, so I’m not surprised that he allowed Thompson to break the rules of the House.
What is being overlooked in all this brouhaha, however, is that both Speaker Smith and Deputy Speaker Thompson are deathly afraid of incurring the wrath of Prime Minister Hubert “THE DICTATOR” Ingraham and they were more likely than not following directions he had given.
Kwazi Thompson, who represents the Pineridge constituency in Grand Bahama, proved conclusively that he is afraid of Ingraham when he remained silent as Ingraham and the FNM totally neglect Grand Bahama over the past four-plus years.
Of course, three ministers in Ingraham’s cabinet that also represent seats in Grand Bahama – Neko Grant in Lucaya, Kenneth Russell in High Rock and Zhivargo Laing in Marco City – also were like deaf mutes as Ingraham’s vindictive and spiteful policies crippled Grand Bahama’s economy.
And according to a well-publicized rumour, Ingraham took such punitive action against Grand Bahama because of his dislike for one man, Hannes Babak, the then chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), whose work permit Ingraham personally refused in December of 2009.
I still find it hard to believe that the Prime Minister of this country could go to bed and sleep comfortably knowing that his destructive policies were responsible of Grand Bahama’s out-of-control unemployment rate and the fact that bread-winners in many Grand Bahama families could not find jobs to put food on the table for their families and to provide for their other basic needs because of his hatred for one man.
Even harder to believe, as I noted earlier, is that all of the FNM representatives in Grand Bahama remained silent while many of their constituents were enduring so much pain and suffering because of Ingraham’s vindictiveness.
But this only proves, as someone once said, that fear can make even brave men do things that are uncharacteristic of what they would ordinarily do when faced with making a decision they don’t agree with.
Ingraham has ruled the FNM with an iron fist over the past several years, resulting in the emergence of a strongly held belief by some political observers that he is now a total dictator.
High Rock MP Kenneth Russell, who was fired as Minister of Housing by Ingraham in December, described Ingraham as both a “tyrant” and “dictator” after he was dismissed as a minister and subsequently denied a nomination by the FNM to seek reelection.
The firing of Russell, in many respects, is the only reason why Neko Grant has been given a new “political life” because it is widely known in Grand Bahama that Grant was on top of the list of persons Ingraham intended to force into retirement. Russell’s strong criticism of Ingraham, however, forced him to revise his plans and he reluctantly nominated Grant as the FNM’s candidate for Central Grand Bahama.
Along with Kwazi Thompson, who was chosen to seek reelection in Pineridge, Ingraham hand-picked Pakeisha Parker to run in West Grand Bahama, Norris Bain, as the FNM’s candidate in Marco City; and Peter Turnquest, as his party’s standard-bearer in East Grand Bahama.
It is clear that Parker, Bain and Turnquest were chosen because Ingraham knows that, using fear as his main weapon, he can easily control them and can depend on their support for any decision he makes, even if those decisions are not in the best interest of their constituents. Indeed, Ingraham has hand-pick virtually all of the new candidates who are running for the FNM in the upcoming election for these very same reasons.
Political observers are convinced that this strategy forms the foundation of “Papa” Ingraham’s game plan to establish himself as The Bahamas’ equivalent of the late Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, if the FNM is reelected for another five years. With the help of his dreaded secret police, The Ton Ton Macoutes, Duvalier was a cruel and inhumane dictator in Haiti from 1957 until his death in 1971.
Fortunately, the vast majority of the voters in The Bahamas, in my view, realize that the mismanagement of the country’s finances by Ingraham, as Minister of Finance, and his hopelessly inept Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing is mainly responsible for the poor state of the country’s economy, and by extension the many hardships they have had to endure over the past four-plus years. So it is highly unlikely that the FNM will win the next election; therefore, Ingraham will be denied the opportunity to execute his diabolical plan to become an absolute dictator.