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Breaking News:

The beginning of the end


Published: Aug 04, 2017

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Dear Editor,

 

I enjoy what I do as the number one-rated (or so some say) talk show host in the nation. As host of The Real Deal, I have been presented with a huge electronic platform to promote nation building public policy initiatives and to make a difference in the lives of many Bahamians. No, I am not bragging, it is simply what it is. Most Bahamians know that I have been a lifelong supporter of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). I was in the trenches when that party secured its first electoral victory in 1967. I was there when the Union Jack came down for the last time in our country. In short, I have been blessed to witness most of the exercises in our evolution as a sovereign nation.

The PLP, however, lost its way during the last term in office. It had come to be hated by a large number of Bahamians and was, clearly, out of touch with reality. The people, inclusive of me, spoke loud and clear on May 10, 2017. I, for one, despite my support for the party in 2012, could no longer tolerate the blatant mismanagement; overt cronyism; and tragic, almost criminal, wastage of public funds. The now permanently deposed former Prime Minister Christie, almost single handedly, dragged the PLP down to its political death. It may be resurrected one day, but, I submit, not until the cow jumps over the moon.

I voted FNM over in Mount Moriah and have no regrets so far, save for one or two salient concerns. The fiscal affairs of the nation must be cleaned up and reorganized on a sustainable basis. Protocols must be established and put in place so as to avoid a repeat of the gross errors and deliberate acts of malfeasance perpetuated by the PLP and its hoggish inner sanctum. No problem here. The problem that I have is witnessing the wholesale termination of staffers with the Ministry of Tourism in Freeport. They say that 11 Bahamians were let go in an act of reconciliation and right sizing. Is this, beloved reader, the beginning of the end, so soon, for the FNM?

Minister of Tourism Dionisio D'Aguilar (FNM – Free Town) was one of the few FNM candidates whom I supported for many months leading up to the general election of this year. Marvin Dames (FNM – Mt. Moriah) and Elsworth Johnson (FNM – Yamacraw) were others whom I supported and campaigned for. Dionisio, a friend and benefactor, was born with a golden spoon in his mouth, just like me. He does not know what it is to live from paycheck to paycheck, like the vast majority of Bahamians. For he and the Minnis administration, at this crucial time of the year, to just terminate those 11 or more individuals is akin to cruelty of the highest order, and I cry shame on them.

Please do not misinterpret what I am saying. Yes, there are times when personnel have to be let go, but timing, I contend, is everything. Schools are about to reopen here and abroad. Parents and guardians are in search of every dollar to pay tuition fees, buy uniforms and other supplies for their children, etc. The Christmas season is just around the corner. The FNM and Dionisio now say go home and make ends meet the best you are able! Those workers in Freeport should have been kept on until the end of this year or be paid cash in lieu of such a period. This is cruelty of the highest order and will come back to haunt the FNM. It is impossible to gauge the emotional and financial pain inflicted on the terminated workers.

It has long been accepted by all and sundry that there are too many employees and consultants at Bahamasair. There are hundreds of non-essential workers down there that could be downsized, with the appropriate compensation packages, but the cowards in the Ministry of Tourism and the Minnis administration will not dare try this exercise. The union down there would shut down the LPIA within hours as well as our cruise ports. Chaos would result and Moody’s along with Standard & Poor’s (what an apt name) would downgrade our economy within nanoseconds! Dionisio, my second-favorite FNM, should be ashamed of himself.

Another thing causing me a great deal of concern is the fact that, for many years, the FNM was very vocal about transparency and consultation with the people of The Bahamas. In opposition they stated that they would release all contracts into the public domain upon assuming office. We have yet to see the Baha Mar contracts; we have yet to see the Power Secure agreement and we have yet to see a single public policy initiative relative to the economy. Yes, it’s only been about three months, but it is obvious, that the FNM was not prepared to govern from day one. The PLP fumbled the ball badly, while jacking all of you, right up! The FNM won by default and the overt lousy behavior of the PLP.

The FNM is right to review all contracts and positions, but, my God, 11 Bahamian workers at the Ministry of Tourism in Freeport, at this time, where the economy has been depressed for decades? This is pure and unadulterated cruelty with shades of victimization. Shame on you, Dionisio and Dr. Minnis.

It was announced with much flourish by the PM that there would be a 10 percent cut across the board, but he never indicated a 10 percent cut in ministerial salaries.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter K. Turnquest (FNM – Pineridge), along with Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Michael Pintard (FNM – Marco City) and the other two Grand Bahama MPs, are obviously politically tone deaf and Scrooge-like in behavior. Was this what people on Grand Bahama voted for?

To God, then, in all of these things, be the glory.

 

– Ortland H. Bodie, Jr.

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