The Editor 17 th June 2021.
Although the FNM spin doctors say that a recent statement by Minister Michael Pintard was intended to be hyperbolic, when speaking on the disastrous Oban deal, Pintard was on the mark when assessing his governments incompetence in the deal signing by calling it a “rookie mistake”. The Cambridge English Dictionary defines a rookie mistake as “ a basic mistake, like one that a person with no experience of an activity would make.” The choice by Minister Pintard to highlight the disastrous, embarrassing Oban deal was no accident. It happened in 2017, the rookie season of the FNM so, one would expect that in the ensuing three years their decision making got better; far from it, it got worse.
In fact, even allowing for the FNM rookie season and some poor decisions we now see that the FNM is incapable of making good decisions no matter how “hard” the Prime Minister claims they are. In the last three years we have seen a virtual flood of poor decisions from this incompetent government. So, you might properly ask what is the problem here? One must look at the recent disingenuous rantings of the FNM party chairman to see what the problem is, its self-delusion. According to the Tribune, “Chairman Carl Culmer was adamant yesterday that he didn’t think that the
party’s image has been negatively affected by controversy over the last few years, most recently the resignation of former Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle…he went on to assert, “There is a difference between the FNM and the PLP.
When anything happens, our people would gracefully bow out and do not bring their concerns on the party”. He continued, unlike the PLP, they dig in deep, and they try and bury themselves. Then they get lost, but with the FNM our people realise that the party is bigger than any individual and they gracefully bow out and allow the party to continue.” Bahamians know that this is an outright lie because although FNM ministers Marvin Dames and Duane Sands were judicially condemned for their roles in the Barbara Hanna case they never “gracefully bowed out” instead, they verbally attacked the Magistrates ruling and the court.
Perhaps in his zeal to justify the unjustifiable he either forgot or thought we had forgotten yet another disgraceful chapter of his party’s history; and the easily verifiable fact that the PLP threw many of his mentors out when they did not “gracefully bow out” after being involved in allegations of mischief detrimental to the party. Then, there was the prosecution of former PLP Minister Shane Gibson which collapsed after allegations of massive procedural errors and other shenanigans by police. Again, no one resigned or gracefully bowed out. In fact, the senior police officer said to be involved was promoted. So, despite what the FNM chairman says, his party leadership when confronted with undeniable, irrefutable proof of their mistakes, do not change their point of view or course of action but justify it more tenaciously. In fact, they double down to hide the negative consequences of a poor decision or try to blame it on the PLP and try to drag them into their nonsense.
We saw this mindset in the FNM,s ill-conceived plan to establish a government funded subdivision for professionals out west. Despite the discriminatory plan being widely ridiculed and its vulnerability to legal challenges fully detailed the FNM ignored all advice and blunders on. Then we have the ill-conceived plan by the Central Bank of the Bahamas to proceed with the $140-160 million so-called “iconic” building in these times of financial stringency, notwithstanding that there is an existing, fully useable building on Frederick Street. If this apparently reckless way the
Central Bank manages our financial affairs God only knows what nasty surprises await us soon.
We also see this craziness regularly in FNM behaviour in the house. They rant, bray like donkeys, waste the peoples time and money and spin all sorts of disingenuous lies and smears, rather than debate the issues and justify their decisions. The FNM are not fit to hold their august offices, nor do they deserve our trust and confidence.
We saw this again in their strident defence of the mismanagement of the hurricane Dorian relief and reconstruction with no accounting for the millions of taxpayers’ funds allegedly spent nor how the international donations of money and materials were used; continued mismanagement of the covid-19 pandemic; the long running Lucayan Hotel debacle; BPL and chronic island-wide power outages; crime on our streets, in our schools and island-wide; unemployment amongst Bahamians who a year ago were self-sufficient, confident and happy; the FNM,s irrational lockdowns of Family Island economies which until they interfered had no covid-19 cases; a airport in Freeport which was misleadingly said to cost $1.00 then sheepishly admitted to be $40 million; a $100 million cost overrun on the New Providence Road project which the PLP had to resolve and to date the FNM has not explained what went on; or the FNM,s $165 million school scholarship program cynically intended to garner votes and for which a full explanation of who benefitted, where or what they studied who successfully completed their studies; reckless borrowings with nothing
to show for it save a $10 billion national debt; island wide blackouts; and potholes large enough to swallow a small child.
To say that this FNM government is venal, useless and clueless is not an
exaggeration and its former cabinet ministers agree. But as these ministers
engage in public self-flagellation, we must not forget this critical reality. Under our cabinet system of government, there is collective cabinet responsibility for the mistakes, decisions or otherwise of the government.
So, do not be deceived or misled. These former cabinet ministers and now
disgruntled FNM, MPs are not innocent bystanders; they were willing and
enthusiastic supporters of the parties misguided policies from the start.
They regaled and congratulated themselves whilst engaging in shameless nepotism, cronyism and victimization of perceived opponents and their families. They sat in the cabinet and on the backbench when the things they now complain of occurred; they said nothing.
We must infer they said nothing because if they were against a policy then under the Westminster system they should have resigned or as the FNM chairman puts it “gracefully bowed out” they did not. Indeed, until they were not renominated or were forced to resign, carried out FNM policy no matter how vicious, harsh, errant, vengeful, irrational and destructive to the country’s people and its stability and reputation.
In an article in the Tribune the FNM Chairman was asked about other
controversies that have dogged the Minnis administration and could affect the party’s image, Mr Culmer said: “I don’t think so because everybody will look at the FNM in a different light because they realise the FNM is straight up”.
For once, the chairman may be right; there is nothing left of the FNM worth tarnishing and its decaying carcass is lying straight up in the gutter where all incompetent, despotic, uncaring, nepotistic and biggety governments eventually end up.
Michael J. Brown