Coleby Sounds Off – “Is the PM in control of his HOUSE”

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colebyelcott.jpg<<< Elcott Coleby

Nassau, Bahamas — Last week it was reported in one of the dailies that Perry Christie, leader of the Progressive Liberal Party, will lead the party into the next general election. This front page story sent internet blogs into overdrive. Of particular interest to me was a commentary posted on Bahamas Press and the many responses it received. The bloggers believed that Prime Minister Ingraham had more control over his cabinet and parliamentary colleagues than former Prime Minister Christie had over his. Further, it was felt that PM Ingraham would be more decisive in resolving conflicts and scandals within his government. That might be a general impression, but do the facts support such an assertion? It is this general impression that I wish to discuss in this edition of Coleby Sounds Off.

Bahamas Press reported that “it is amazing to see that PLPs in his (meaning Christie) organization cannot see the playbook here. Christie says very little about Ingraham. He fails to attack the FNM on national matters. He has allowed scandals to go unchallenged.”

I agree with the editor that the PLP is too silent on and not critical enough of the FNM on national issues. When the PLP attacks the FNM, they are not tenacious enough in their pursuit. I, however, disagree with the editor’s assertion that Christie “has allowed scandals to go unchallenged.” Whether the scandal existed in his party or in the FNM, the record will show that Christie challenged all of them. The question is, can the same be said for Prime Minister Ingraham concerning the handling of scandals and crises within his party and government?

ingraham4aI can recall that to date, Brent Symonnette, Anthony Miller, Gregory Williams, and Sidney Collie were the only persons the current PM asked to resign when they were caught in scandals, but all the PLP’s found wanting were asked to resign under Christie. That is simply a fact.tommy-turnquest

When his former DPM Frank Watson was implicated in scandals involving bounced checks (signed by Watson) written to the public treasury, the transfer of huge sums of money to secure a Bahamasair B737 that never materialized, and tabling of a dossier in the House of a covert DEA operations, the PM took no action against DPM Watson. He accused a member of the Pindling family of writing bounced checks to the treasury to deflect from the real issue facing his government.

When charges were leveled at Dion Foulkes about improprieties and abuses of power in awarding contracts for school repairs, the PM admitted that the contracted amounts were large for the scope of work and ordered an investigation, but took no action against Foulkes and never revealed the results of the investigation.

dion-foulkes.jpgWhen charges were made against Tommy Turnquest in the House about allowing an unauthorized contractor to pay for his leader-elect victory party, the PM said he asked Mr. Turnquest to pay for his own party, but there is no record of him doing so and no punitive actions taken by the PM against Turnquest for this apparent conflict of interest.

ALL OF THESE MEN RETURNED IN 2007 AS CABINET MINISTERS, MP’s, SENATORS AND BOARD CHAIRMAN.

In the present term, the PM lashed out at the PLP, calling them “FOOLS” when the Hon. Frank Smith, MP raised a conflict of interest issue in the House surrounding State Minister Laing and a drink called Mona Vie. The claim was that Minister Laing used his position as a public official to allow an unreasonable benefit to a member of his family. brent-symonette.jpg

When Earl Deveaux bypassed the duly authorized board and ignored the moratorium by personally approving a taxi plate to one of his FNM cronies, the PM could be seen in the House defending Earl Deveaux by saying that there was no taxi plate out there. Again he took no action against Mr. Deveaux.

When DPM Brent Symonette chaired a meeting about relocating the container port, this was raised in the House as a conflict of interest as Symonette owned property on which the container port sits and stands to benefit from the relocation and the redevelopment of the city of Nassau. The PM said that Symonette would continue to serve on the committee. There was a clear conflict between DPM Symonette’s public duty and private business interests. No actions were taken by the current Prime Minister.

sidney.jpgConcerning Sidney Collie and the local government elections, I continue to point out that the Supreme Court dealt with Mr. Collie and NOT THE PM. All indications are that the entire FNM cabinet conspired to break the law concerning certain provisions of the amended local government act. The PM received a letter from the Chair of the PLP about certain procedural breeches taking place in the local elections process, but this warning went unheeded. After the issue became a crisis, the PM threw Collie under the proverbial bus and the FNM propaganda machinery went into overdrive to control the damage already done to the reputation of the FNM. The PM clearly was late in taking action against his minister. Where would the FNM government have gotten the moral authority to continue to govern in the face of the Supreme Court ruling if no action was taken? Again, the Supreme Court forced the PM to act.laing-dscf8364.jpg

The PM is yet to comment on the current abuse of power and breech of public trust charges being leveled at Works minister Neko Grant in the award of a $300,000 contract for landscaping in Abaco.

I don’t see how the current PM “CONTROLS HIS HOUSE” or “DEALS WITH HIS MINISTERS.” I see and hear the propaganda, but I do not see how it is based in facts. He seems to run a pretty slack house and a case can be made that the PM defends wrongdoing and political misconduct. He does have one advantage though: The media is sympathetic to the FNM and are not critical of them in terms of their policy decisions. Their general feelings are that the FNM should NOT be criticized and certain columnists and editors are quick to criticize and attack anybody who dare criticize the policies of the FNM government.

I have said it before and I will say it again: this is unprecedented in a free, modern, democratic state. The unconditional support for and defense of the FNM that is apparently entrenched in certain media quarters might be good for the FNM, but what is good for the FNM might not necessarily be good for the country.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Elcott,
    I fully agree with your article. Hopefully the people will wake up before the next general election and the present government won’t be able to continue to destroy our country much longer! Their days in power are numbered.

  2. Elcott, you know those people only know slogans and repeat the same unfounded talking points they are told. You are asking for too much if you expect FNM supporters to think. Media, while you may be working to be fair and balanced, I still think you have a ways to go and you shouldn’t declare victory when the race is a marathon and not a sprint. You will be truly fair and balanced when you stop flying off the handle whenever people dispute your opinions or ask tough questions. But to be fair, that may be more ego than bias so I’ll cut you some slack if you do the same for us doubting Thomases out there.

  3. @Altec
    Now why should we sell out ALTEC when we started this debate. Listen, we are NOT SNITCHES, SELLOUTS, PINHEADS, PUSSY CATS NOR MUGABITES and what ever else there is. WE PRESENT REAL NEWS!

    WE ARE FAIR AND BALANCED and believe in allowing the views of the people. Members of the Rasta community also sent us a letter this week past and we want them to know, It will be up before the day is out. (And if not today, early tomorrow).

    BP/Editor

    We have more to do than just run a blog ya see…LOL!

  4. @Child of the 60,s
    You know whats interesting C60’s, will the media in this country begin to fact check claims made our politicians? We know that they all read this site and if the writers of this blog can hold the politicians feet to the fire then it points to the media houses lack of initiative and desire for facts.

    I just hope that Bahamas Press dont get lazy and sell out.

  5. I agree with this article as it has been proven that the entire Cabinet agrees with all the foolish decisions being made by the Govt.Anyone who would come out and say that Sidney Collie did nothing wrong in respect to the Local govt Elections is loco.The hurt is so deep that Glennys Hanna Martin was chosen to get their point across that if you touch one yopu touch all.Scandal after scandal and the wuthless news media pretend that nothing is going on.To add further insult to injury some members of the Cabinet went on a platform and declared during their anniversary of being Govt that no scandal has appeared or happened during their two yrs in office.The wuthless press did not try to refute this.They better remember that history has yet to be written on this period and those found wanting AND ACQUIESCING THIS DISGRACEFUL BEHAVIOR WILL BE exposed.I am ashamed at those who come on this site and cant see anything wrong in our Govt. style.Shame on you as you are gutless and wuthless.

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