A letter to the BP Editor
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell is continuing to discredit The Bahamas in international circles. It appears that Prime Minister Christie is powerless to stop him.
Mr Mitchell has become something of a joke regionally and internationally because of his apparent incompetence and often silly and self-serving statements. While he sees himself in a grand light, many see him for what he is, the sort of self-promoter that the WikiLeaks episode captured perfectly.
Mr Mitchell’s most recent antic, issuing formal diplomatic notes of apology to the Governments of Malaysia, China and the United States, because of an “off the cuff” comment by the Leader of the Opposition referencing the missing Malaysia Airline is certainly a case of the cure being worse than the illness.
If Dr Minnis’ comments were inappropriate, Mr Mitchell’s reaction was an act of juvenile grandstanding by someone who often overreacts and who is often over-the-top in his statements.
Further, Minister Mitchell’s decision to send a note is even more irresponsible. He is using the Foreign Ministry to play domestic politics.
Dr Minnis’ reference to the missing Malaysian airliner was clumsy and unfortunate. However, most people realise that Dr Minnis’ comments were meant to reflect the growing frustration of the Bahamian people with the unfocused, self-interested Christie-led PLP Government and not in any way to disrespect a foreign government or the families of passengers affected by the continuing horrendous aviation tragedy.
If the Prime Minister’s intent has been to give Mr Mitchell enough rope with which to hang his career as foreign minister, he has succeeded. Actually, it is Mr Mitchell who is likely to cause great embarrassment to the country with these diplomatic notes.
The governments receiving these notes know full well that Dr Minnis’ comments are not the views of the Government or the Bahamian people. Our foreign policy today so often seems more driven by Mr Mitchell’s massive ego.
The sad irony is that it is Mitchell who often shows our country in the worst light possible, including his incompetent handing of the appointment of Bahamas diplomatic representatives to the United States and the United Nations, his bungling of the still pending allegations of abuse by Cuban Detainees at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre, and his ridiculous defence of the unlawful detention by immigration officers of legitimate work permit holders in The Bahamas.
There was also his peculiar decision to elect foreign capitals – Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Hong Kong – in which to criticise firstly our country’s treatment of its LGBT community and secondly, the efficiency or otherwise of the privately-owned but Bahamian-majority staffed telecommunications company.
If an FNM foreign minister criticised The Bahamas in a foreign country like Mr Mitchell has, he would have denounced them in the strongest possible terms. But it’s okay when Mr Mitchell does it, because, after all, he’s the great Fred Mitchell.
Why after almost two years in office hasn’t the Government gotten around to appointing an ambassador to China, one of our most important allies and a great friend of The Bahamas?
This most recent ridiculous antic to take his domestic fight with a political opponent to the international stage is especially reprehensible for a foreign minister. The only thing that Mr Mitchell is achieving is demeaning his office and by extension the Government of The Bahamas. His actions are almost childish.
The prime minister should be kind enough now to relieve Mr Mitchell of the portfolio responsibility of foreign affairs. As smart as he’s said to be it’s amazing how poor he’s performed and how disorganised and demoralized is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which appears now to be organised mostly to service Mr Mitchell’s ego and his foreign trips and adventures.
April 24, 2014