18 th September,2021
It is perhaps only fitting that an administration which came to power based on lies, ended one of the most disastrous governments in Bahamian history with yet another lie. Bahamians now know from painful experience that nothing the FNM ever told them was true. Not the “it’s the peoples time” lie nor its most recent lie “It’s about your future”. Now in the political wilderness and with the danger of internecine
infighting destroying what’s left of the party plus the real possibility of former parliamentarians facing legal liability, they remain unrepentant, arrogant and deluded liars.
Indeed, rather than try to redeem themselves the FNM and its operatives embarked on what can only be termed a treasury raid. In their last days in power the FNM systematically and cynically appointed new employees; signed agreements which appear to have benefitted its operatives, supporters and financial backers; allegedly signed leases; and otherwise engaged in activities which will harm the financial
stability of the Bahamas. Many of their poisonous, unqualified devotees have been injected into the public service system where I suspect they will lie in wait and frustrate any attempt by the new PLP administration to make sense of what really went on.
To cap off this litany of disastrous decisions and incompetence along the length and breath of our country, projects remain uncompleted funds are accounted for and in two high profile cases in the capitol the government house renovations are incomplete, and its limestone structure exposed to the elements. The southern recreation grounds redevelopment has been at a standstill for months and is an overgrown eyesore. But if you have watched successive FNM governments you know that incomplete projects, cost overruns and lack of financial transparency is their hallmark. I suspect that when forensic audits are competed across the many government ministries negatively impacted by the FNM, s nepotism, cronyism and sheer incompetence their $100 million cost overrun on the new providence road redevelopment project will be small potatoes.
So, Bahamians were dismayed but not surprised that the FNM administration knew as early as 14th September 2021 that Moody’s had forewarned them that the Bahamas credit rating would be downgraded. To be fair, downgrades and blacklisting’s were so regular under the incompetent FNM administration that we
stopped taking notice of them. But what was different with this downgrade is that the FNM knew it was coming yet failed to inform the Bahamian public of it. Perhaps this decision was driven by the fact that although the downgrading was made known to them on 14 th September 2021, Moody’s would not announce it until 17th September a day after the general elections.
But the cat was already out of the bag and the then opposition leader was asking very uncomfortable questions about the FNMs rumored secret arrangements with the country’s creditors. The opposition leader said this,” We have been told by credible sources that the Government called a snap election because their back is against the wall with the country’s creditors; they’re ready to raise your taxes, but they ain’t planning to tell you that until after you vote. And they are going to raise your taxes because they are too afraid of their wealthy donors to raise theirs, and because they have no new ideas and no clue how to create economic growth”.
Of course, there was the usual howls of denial from the ministry of finance and the usual bubbleheads; their favourite ploy when they are caught doing something untoward but, they never change course they just blunder on. What this episode points out is the financial naivete of the persons who formerly mismanaged our
affairs. Credit rating agencies are subscription services so information on a country’s financial health is readily available to its subscribers. In fact, bespoke services can be obtained on countries like the Bahamas and indeed the persons who first voiced concerns over a secret government deal probably had this information.
Given the parlous state of the country’s finances and widespread allegations of corruption in the former administration the incoming government would be well advised to investigate these allegations while managing the recovery of our country. These are so many rumours of FNM wrongdoing that these matters must be investigated, or we will not have a clear picture of the state of the country’s finances. We can no longer allow proven corrupt politicians walk away with their ill-gotten gains. Criminals never reform, they only come back in a different form and are then twice as slimy and dangerous.
I know from experience that the PLP does not engage in “victors justice”. But the allegations of FNM corruption and wrongdoing is so rife and persistent that a responsible government must investigate them.
And, when corruption is proved the culprits must be punished with the same intensity and publicity that the former FNM administration prosecuted the young men selling coconut water or fetching water from the public pumps.
Michael J. Brown