Oswald Brown Writes
By OSWALD T. BROWN
Claims of victimization by supporters of the Free National Movement (FNM) have been bandied about like leaves in a Category 5 hurricane in the aftermath of the FNM’s crushing defeat in the May 7 general election. This is clearly a well organized attempt to paint the governing Progressive Party (PLP) as being a heartless government that is not living up to its campaign slogan, “We Believe In Bahamians.”
Of course, another reason for these repeated claims of victimization is that FNMs are well aware that PLP leader Perry Christie, who is now the Prime Minister, is a good and decent man and they are making a subtle appeal to him to demonstrate his “goodness” and “decency” by forgetting that their rallying cry during the general election campaign was that he was “weak and indecisive” and was no match for their “strong and tenacious” leader, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.
In essence, what they are asking Mr. Christie to do is to prove that they were right about their assessment of his leadership skills by leaving FNM operatives in placed in positions in government that would make it easy for them to sabotage initiatives the PLP government proposes as it attempts to restore good governance to this country.
Many of them still outrightly refuse to admit that the tremendous damage done to The Bahamas’ economy was a result of gross mismanagement of the country’s finances by Ingraham, who was Minister of Finance, and his inept and incompetent Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing.
Many of them are still in denial about the fact that the FNM government was a total failure when it came to finding solutions to the horrendous escalation in crime, especially the out of-control murder rate.
In Grand Bahama, many of them still cast a blind eye to the fact that far too many Grand Bahamians found themselves having to struggle to survive as a result of the FNM’s cruel and vindictive policies and Ingraham’s personal vendetta against the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), for reasons that still have not yet been adequately explained.
Yet it was in Grand Bahama that first salvos of shouts of victimization were launched in response to the appointment of Michelle Reckley as the Grand Bahama-based Deputy Director of Urban Renewal 2.0, one of the key arsenals in the PLP’s war on crime.
This victimization claim was based on the fact that the new PLP government chose not to renew the contracts of FNM-appointed employees of the watered-down Urban Renewal program that the FNM was operating, having removed essential elements of an effective PLP program the FNM met in place when it returned to power in 2007.
It made every sense in the world, of course, that the PLP decided that the Urban Renewal program was so important to the success of its war on crime that it needed to have persons involved in the program who shared the party’s objectives for it and not persons who could potentially sabotage its success.
There’s no question that since its launch several weeks ago, the “new” Urban Renewal 2.0 program has had a noticeable impact on the reduction of serious crime. And of course, the establishment last week by Prime Minister Christie of the Urban Renewal 2.0 Commission now has even its detractors admitting that it is an excellent program. The commission is headed by former FNM Cabinet Minister Algernon Allen and former PLP Deputy Prime Minister Cynthia “Mother” Pratt. Unquestionably, appointing two persons with opposing political allegiances in the past to head the commission is an indication of Prime Minister Christie’s commitment to the success of this program.
Nonetheless, FNM propagandists continue to “manufacture” claims of victimization, hoping to effectively blackmail Mr. Christie into disregarding his political obligation to loyal and committed supporters of the PLP. Surely, the phrase, “To the victor goes the spoils,” is by no means a hackneyed cliché; it is one of the time-honoured realities of politics. Indeed, its implication is that the winning party in an election is duty-bound to “take care” of its supporters by rewarding them with positions in the government for which they are qualified. It’s a simple as that.
Does anyone with a modicum of understanding of how politics works believes that if the FNM had won the election, Hubert Ingraham would have gone out of his way to secure jobs for PLP supporters or leave a known PLP supporter in a position that could hurt his political agenda? Hell would freeze over first.
What’s more, a well-connected group of FNM supporters had already devised a diabolical plan to victimize PLP supporters if the FNM had won the election, and they were so sure that the FNM would win that they boldly posted details of their plan on Facebook.
What is absolutely unbelievable is that two of the main architects of this appallingly despicable plan—Peter T. Carey and Doc Margo Seymour, a sister of former Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing—are two of the most vocal FNM supporters who are now making claims of victimization.
I don’t know whether he is still employed with BAIC, but before the election Carey used to be on Facebook virtually the entire day criticizing the PLP in the most vile and disgusting language, and he seemed to have a particular dislike for current Prime Minister Christie. If he is still employed with BAIC, in my view he deserved to be one of the first persons “victimized” after the May 7 election.
Certainly, it would be good for this “Christian Nation” if there were not such a strongly entrenched group of devoted party supporters on each side of the political divide, but until the bitterness that partisan politics generates in this country is removed from the minds of followers of both the PLP and the FNM, claims of victimization—real of manufactured—will always be prevalent following a change of government.
It seems to me that this is a reality that supporters of the FNM will have to accept as their current claims of victimization fall on deaf ears.