The National Dish Of The Bahamas: Politics And Conch Salad

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JUDGING THE COMPETITION – Hundreds gathered around the table as the Conch Cracking Competition took place during the 43rd annual festival in McLean’s Town on Monday. Shown are Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition and Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama, Peter Turnquest; Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Tourism, Harrison Thompson; and former Member of Parliament for High Rock Constituency, Kenneth Russell, the three judges for the event. (BIS Photo/Vandyke Hepburn)
JUDGING THE COMPETITION – Hundreds gathered around the table as the Conch Cracking Competition took place during the 43rd annual festival in McLean’s Town on Monday. Shown are Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition and Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama, Peter Turnquest; Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Tourism, Harrison Thompson; and former Member of Parliament for High Rock Constituency, Kenneth Russell, the three judges for the event. (BIS Photo/Vandyke Hepburn)

By Jerry Roker
For Bahamas Press

It can be damn hard sometimes to find something in this world that makes you feel good. Something that gives you that tingly feeling and warms your heart from the inside out.

However you still have to be forever the optimist and glean something good out of every ugly situation. You still have to smile when there seems no reason to and laugh out loud even when you seem silly doing so.

I am by no means the perpetually sour faced, grumpy old bloke who walks around with a scowl and lives life frowning at the world. Rather, I like to laugh and perceive humour in everything but boy, that can be hard sometimes.

Our little country The Bahamas does provide ample opportunities for its citizens to feel good and bring a smile to their faces. We can gloat and chortle, if you will, from time to time as one or other of out extraordinary sons or daughters of the soil, home or abroad does something special. Too bad the mainstream media places these things on page 10.

But it does also provide some moments that will bring a tear of frustration and exasperation to the most tolerant or pragmatic eye.

Sometimes the things we end up laughing at are things that should make American serial killers, Charles Manson or Ted Bundy cry. We just console ourselves by laughing it off just to preserve our sanity and keep our blood pressure from killing us.

Try as I might though, there are some things that happen in my country that I just cannot laugh off. Call me a bad sport if you like but those things cause me to screw my face, and human that I am, and fallible, I sometimes find myself wishing some not so pleasant things on the perpetrators.

I take back the dark wishes because as crappy as someone gets and as much as they piss you the hell off, I don’t believe it is right to wish bad things on them but rather leave them up to the dictates of the cosmic scheme.

I honestly felt like putting my foot in somebody’s butt and turning it sideways last year, I think it was, when it was reported in the media that a worker employed on the BAMSI construction site, by one of the contractors, and allegedly a supporter of the FNM, burnt down a dormitory under construction.

I mean how bloody dare him? What bleak cave or dismal hole do you have to be born and raised in to do something like deliberately burning down a structure which is for the benefit of the entire population? And you know what, the focus was not on this despicable criminal act, but entirely on the fact that the contractor did not have the ‘required’ insurance, not that it didn’t matter, because it did. He ought to have had it.

I also tore out my hair in frustration when I heard a leader of the Christian community, on successive occasions using a forum such as the Independence celebrations on Clifford Park to take swipes at the government, real and imagined.

Come on man, there are times you have to put all this profiling and posturing aside and just deal with the matter at hand.

I sort of regard with awe, ministers of government who emerge as the spokesperson on every conceivable topic, holding forth with an air of unquestionable authority and unbridled knowledge and conviction.

People like that I regard as especially gifted and smart with their finger on the pulse.

And then I frown at opposition members, who speak to what is beneficial to them politically and not necessarily what is best for our Bahamas. Cases in point: BAMSI, University of The Bahamas, National Health Insurance, etc. Rather than embrace and speak to how to make things better, their MO is always to oppose or not now. Gosh!

There is not much that I can do about the things that I get horrors with except to voice it, but I quiver to think what passes for commonplace and acceptable behaviour in The Bahamas and cringe at the idea that it will continue unabated into the foreseeable future.

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