13 December, 2011
As this is the last sitting of this Honourable House before we break for Christmas, I rise to extend my best wishes for a happy and safe Christmas to all Honourable Members.
Before the time of the FNM Government, Parliament, at this time of the year, would be debating the annual Budget. And, when we changed the Budget year to July 1st – June 30th, the Party Opposite declared that it was unconstitutional for us to do so. They said they would challenge it in the Supreme Court. Well, they didn’t and when they returned to Office they carried on merrily with the new Budget period.
I note that some amongst us today do not propose to seek re-election to this place in next year’s General Elections. Others of course will not return because the people of The Bahamas determine not to return them.
Regardless, I express on behalf of all the Bahamian people thanks and appreciation for all those who have given service to the people of The Bahamas in this place most especially so to those who were motivated only by the desire to bring about better for all our people.
It is sadly to be recognized that we have moved to a place in our history when many who seek to offer themselves for election to the House are motivated by the desire to achieve personal success and not by a dedication to service to others – that is the general public.
This is most recently evident from the number of individuals who shop their availability to seek election on any political party’s ticket.
When such individuals are rejected by one party, they simply move to the next available party. It appears that these individuals are not motivated by any core value system or commitment to a philosophy.
My hope is that ever more persons who seek public office will come to see election to Parliament as a duty and responsibility to serve and not to gain a personal advantage. Conversely, individuals should come to accept that not being elected or re-elected to Parliament will not be a disadvantage; that they can expect to be treated fairly whether in or out of office.
If we do not evolve to that level we will continue to produce Governments with members committed to fighting tooth and nail to remain the Government or to regain the Government not because they want to do well by the people but because they seek to preserve themselves, to seek personal advantage, personal favour and personal gain.
I note that when Members Opposite lose the next Election, as I expect that they will, they will come to terms with being Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and not spend another term as they did this one, lambasting every initiative undertaken by my Government notwithstanding that they have come to this place and overwhelmingly voted in support of virtually every Bill brought before this Honourable place.
There is something duplicitous about campaigning against something, prompting your supporters to believe that what the Government is doing is wrong – whether we are acting to improve infrastructure, strengthen anti-crime legislation, secure our financial services sector, encourage and or incentivize the renovation and modernization of our national capital city, further strengthen our tourism sector etc…. Then they themselves come here and vote in support of what they have vilified. This is not right and this is not how our parliamentary democracy was meant to function.
And so, we look forward to a better year next year; and we look forward to cooperating with Members Opposite to win what is best for the Bahamian people – a modern functioning, efficient, responsive and reliable public service.
On that note, Mr. Speaker I express very best wishes to all Honourable Members for the Holy Season ahead of us.