Those in and those out of Uniform

Hubert Ingraham

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

How is it that in this country of ours, persons are allowed to get away with music in vehicles so loud that it shakes the earth and the sky? Do they pay more to license such vehicles – pay more for such a right, for such a ride – pay more to make life for others of us so uncomfortable – more than what is paid by the rest of us with nothing at all in excess – with nothing out of the ordinary?

It seems entirely unfair to the rest of law-abiding us that these persons are allowed to get away with these excesses. This though is one of the big problems in Bahama Land. What are the standards? What is the uniform? How aught a Bahamian to behave in The Bahamas? Why is more not done to establish and to maintain such a code?

Such persons are being allowed to GET AWAY WITH MURDER, as the saying goes. Why are such extremes in behavior allowed more and more to become HABIT? I tell you and you know very well already, that when behavior is allowed to become ingrained as it were – like a stain – it is that much more difficult to undo – that much more difficult to get out or to uproot.

I see around me and from year to year and more and more, the worst habits – the worst practices allowed to go unchallenged. Why these are so blaring for me is because this is so contrary to how I was brought up. This is so contrary to how DISCIPLINE is established. I was disciplined because I was loved. We discipline our children because we love them. Are we to conclude that the children or citizens of this nation of ours are not loved? Do they love their nation to abuse it and to traumatize it as they do? Would someone who love his land or her land litter as I see people do – young and old – male and female? They just drop or fling anything anywhere.

There is this entire dynamic that I see that is NOT being addressed in the NATION building process. What is addressed? Murder. A lot of attention is given after someone is a murderer or a murder victim. These murders though are tied to littering are tied to this excessively loud music that is allowed to go unchallenged – that is not addressed.

Why to The Bahamas has the law not yet come which disallows cigarette smoking in public places and why is the law concerning burning or lighting fires without a permit not enforced? I see your government and you react to what you consider that BIG things – the economy and crime – when it is OUT OF HAND. What I do not see is enough attention being paid to are the fine things – the finer things – the finest things.

The fine negative things as well as the fine positive things are as if occurring in a world apart. You neglect the things I complain of above and you neglect the nation’s artists and the nation’s art. You neglect the nation’s poetry and the nation’s poets. The country I live in as an artist, with the beauty I labor to make and to add, and with the things which are offensive to my soul – which offend me to the core, are as if occurring in a world or in a country apart from the one you govern.

I have being wondering, along with another artist-friend, from a prominent political family, I might add, if it is even worth it to register or to vote. It shall make no difference for us one way or another whether the FNM or the PLP is in power. What do they care of what our concerns are? What do they care for our refinement and sensibilities or for a REFINED NATION where it is Paradise not just for tourists but for us ALL?

This is a rough, harsh place we like in and our politicians seem to like it JUST SO. It might be because of how well paid you are once you are in power. You can afford to live away – apart from the harsh reality of the life most of the rest of us have to deal with – have to face.


Obediah Michael Smith.