Integrity And Good Governance: An Unfulfilled Promise

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Prime Minister THE MOST HON. Hubert Minnis

By Jerry Roker for Bahamas Press

The FNM while campaigning for the 2017 General Elections, promised to deliver to The Bahamas clean governance with specific emphasis on promoting high levels of transparency, accountability and integrity once they won those elections.

From time to time, members of the FNM were heard chastising the then PLP Government for its arrogance, excessiveness and failure to listen as well as respond effectively to the needs of the populace.

They were heard demonising the Government in many respects and promising to never govern in their own interest, but rather in the interest of the populace, again with heavy emphasis being placed on ethics, morality and social conscience.

Now in Government with a huge majority, the FNM seems to have thrown some of their core principles out of the window. Not only is the Government now justifying wrong doings, both clandestine and clear as day, but it appears to have developed a knack for shielding its Ministers from public scrutiny and accountability.

Only recently, two senior Ministers were judicially condemned for their part in the investigation of alleged malfeasance by two former PLP Ministers.

There has been thunderous calls by all and sundry that these FNM Minister resign or be fired by the Prime Minister. Both Ministers had the temerity to shamefully defend their behavior and refused to resign. The Prime Minister’s refusal to fire them, clearly suggests that he condoned their behavior in these matters.

The leasing of space by the government, from one of its Cabinet Ministers, after abandoning the construction of a permanent location for the Post Office, that was started under the previous government, in my view was unethical to say the least and was a brazen act of conflict of interest, and abuse of power, spurred by the FNM’s desire to compensate this Minister for his financial contributions to the party, that probably contributed mightily to its success at the polls.

And there is more. Their decisions to unjustly dismiss thousands of public service workers while personally attacking others because of their link to the PLP; the sole-sourcing of numerous contracts for various projects and goods as well as services from FNM financiers and supporters; the creation of jobs for the boys in almost every Government agency and Ministry without justifiable cause; and the continued assault on parliamentary democracy by running not well-thought-out or prepared bills through Parliament without proper consultation. 

That aside, the Government has much to explain about its frequent travels abroad and its politicisation of the State bureaucracy with party hopefuls and diaspora rejects.

The truth is, integrity and good governance demand that the Government, at least, clearly explain its intentions and modus operandi when certain concerns are raised by the populace. But the only response is a national address here and there, as they abandoned the weekly press conferences held by the Prime Minister’s Press Secretary. There is mostly silence on the part of the Prime Minister about core matters that run deep to the core of the decisions being made every day by the Government appointed advisers, his Ministers and their political agents.
This is not the change nor integrity in politics much less good governance that was promised by the FNM.