It is absolutely appalling that Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, at a time when the Bahamian people are suffering from the cruel pangs of his draconian budget cuts, can travel halfway around the world to attend a sporting event. It makes no difference whether it’s a private visit or not, which common sense dictates it should be; it is the perception that counts. If the trip is at the taxpayers’ expense, then it is even more deplorable.
If Mr. Ingraham needed an example of how a caring leader responds in times of crises, United States President Barack Obama provided him with very good one recently when he cancelled a long-arranged visit to Australia because of the Gulf oil crisis. It was supposed to be a state visit, but he was taking his children on the trip and he made the sensible decision that it would not look good back home for him and his children to be seen sightseeing in Australia while his country was trying to find a solution to the worst oil spill in America’s history.
The sad thing is that not one member of Mr. Ingraham’s Cabinet was man, or woman, enough to tell him that he was making a drastic mistake; holding on to their jobs is their top priority. Has Mr. Ingraham allowed his arrogance to fool him into believing that the Bahamian people will accept whatever he does no matter how wrong it is? This is just another indication of how much of a dictator this man has become.
There is a school of thought that Mr. Ingraham simply does not care what the Bahamian people think of his dictatorial decisions because he has already built his retirement home in his native Abaco and does not mind if the Free National Movement is defeated in the next election, which at the current time appears to be a certainty. But while he is relaxing in luxury in Abaco in the twilight of his life—on a pension in excess of one hundred thousand dollars a year, an overly generous gift from the hard-working Bahamian people—working-class Bahamians, whose taxes pay for his retirement, will still be struggling to keep food on the table for their families and making all sorts of sacrifices to ensure that their children receive a decent education. And they call this “service to the people!”
I am currently writing a novel and I had decided that I would generally remain under the political radar and not comment on the many questionable decisions the Ingraham government is making until my book is published, but when I got up this morning, checked by e-mail and read about Mr. Ingraham’s sporting sojourn to South Africa, I decided that I could not remain quiet on this most unbelievably stupid decision and risk making reservation for one of those hottest places in hell.
I am sending this letter to the mainstream media, but I doubt that the major dailies will publish it because Ingraham seems to have tremendous influence over what they publish about his government. But I am also sending it to Bahamas Press, which despite its shortcomings in terms of grammar, syntax and sentence structure, is the most effective medium for the dissemination of information in the country today.
Oswald T. Brown
Freeport, Grand Bahama
June 21, 2010