The Ole Boys Trip to Sin City South Africa

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Dear Editor,

Within the last 48 hours six more murders were added to the growing list of 41, recorded for the year thus far, bringing the year-to-date total to 47. This was the tale-of-the-tape for the week ending 26th June 2010 and all this going on while the man, charged with responsibility for the country’s national security matters, hob-knobs with Sol Kerzer(sorry; Sir Sol Kerzer) as his guest on a pleasure trip to Sin City in South Africa. Amidst the heinous acts of gruesome murders occurring in the capitol this past six-day week armed robberies, drug arrests, housebreaking and stealing too numerous to mention, were rampant and the police force, while doing the best they can, of course, seems overwhelmed and helpless to stem the tide of crime, generally, in the country; all this, I say again, happening while the man, charged with responsibility for the country’s national security matters, hob-knobs with Sir Solomon Kerzer as his guest on a pleasure, all expense paid, trip to Sin City in South Africa.

The minister of finance, as well, whose charge and responsibility it is to create and maintain a favorable investment climate, to facilitate job creation, in the country, is also (at this time and has been for a week with another week to go) hob-knobbing with Sol Kerzer as his guest on this aforementioned all expense paid pleasure trip to Sin City in South Africa. It should be noted that while Hubert and Tommy and Charles and their entourage are living it up in Sin City, the minister for the environment was, on Friday 25th June, issuing pink slips to 250-300 government workers and sending them home with no hope of finding alternative employment any time soon.

In addition, while the minister was carrying out that act, about 100 persons were let go in Freeport, Grand Bahama, from two businesses which closed their doors and another which scaled back their operations by letting 12 of their valuable employees go, citing lack of work for them to do. I say valuable employees because one of the workers, among the 12 terminated, was employed by the company, fresh out of school, more than 40 years ago; she was a forty year plus, veteran employee. It truly saddens my heart to see what is happening in the country but especially here in Grand Bahama where career employees, with this many years on jobs, are let go from these companies. The government, of Hubert Alexander Ingraham, should be ashamed of themselves for what they have done to ordinary struggling Bahamians in this once tranquil and prosperous Bahamaland.

What are these three cabinet ministers, including the prime minister of the country, doing socializing at the people’s expense half way around the world, at a time like this, while Bahamians suffer under the most strenuous of economic conditions created by, the great economic architect himself, Hubert Alexander Ingraham himself? Shouldn’t they have cancelled this and all other unnecessary trips, and view this crisis as a disaster requiring their constant attention? Shouldn’t they have exercised more common sense and saw that they needed to be more sensitive to the current misery index in the country? Do they care what hardships Bahamians are confronted with on a daily basis (and have been for the last three years that the FNM has been in office) in their homes and on their one or two-day a week jobs, if they are the lucky ones to have a roof over their heads and a two day a week job to go to? But you know what, after all is said and done? We are to be blamed and I’ll say again for emphasis that, we get the government we deserve and we deserve the leaders we elect. There was once a choice between the Lord Jesus Christ and Barabbas; we chose Barabbas.

News paper headlines and photographs coming out of Sin City Africa show Ingraham and the boys laughing it up and having a good ole time while murders, armed robberies and other crimes threaten to engulf us, here at home. The murders, I referred to above, for the most part, were calculated and not random killings; and to have had six of them being committed in six days, tells us a lot as to where the country is in terms of getting this menace under control. Nothing seems to be working, notwithstanding the best efforts of the commissioner and his police officers. I must remind my readers that Urban Renewal-(Perry Christie’s, that is)-was having a very positive impact on the level of criminal activity in the country, before Ingraham came to office, but for purely silly political reasons he dismantled the program and resorted to the watered down, ineffective, version it is today. The FNM has turned this extremely effective three-time, international award-winning social outreach program, into merely a shell of its former status and a jobs program where FNM cronies, who are unable to hold down jobs anywhere else in the country, are dumped and paid salaries from the public treasury for just hanging around.

The impact of Ingraham’s 2010-2011 budget is already being felt throughout the country. The long lines at the road traffic department, both in Freeport and Nassau, on the last two days in June showed just how desperate persons were to save on the outrageously high increases(in some cases around 200-300%) in the licensing of their vehicles before the new rates became effective on 1st July. I am told that on the very last day (June 30th) there were persons who frantically ran to their banks to withdraw funds and stood in line for hours, when they found out what the increases would be, effective July 1st, to have their vehicles licenses renewed. Some have opted to license their vehicles as far in advance as two and in some cases three months. All this going on while Ingraham, Tommy, Charles and their entourage, with their dry martinis in hand and at the expense of the Bahamian tax payers, hob-knob with Sir Sol Kerzer and those dancing African girls in their scanty outfits. Are these guys for real? Is this the trusted, caring government you folks elected in 2007? Is this what you bargained for? Can these guys, honestly, claim that they really care for Bahamians and what they are going through? I have my doubts and certainly I am not convinced.

They will return this week, we are told; what benefits will they bring from South Africa for the Country? Will they bring some financial assistance for the increasing numbers of poor and needy among us, or will they bring only the pay off (as told me by a friend) from Sir Sol Kerzer for the Knighthood that Ingraham gave him? They tell me that Sir Sol paid big bucks for that honor, given him by this Ingraham FNM government, and that this trip, by the boys, was only a part of his show of gratitude for the honor bestowed.

I am convinced that Ingraham is doing exactly what he did, in 2000, when he realized that it was very likely that he would have lost the 2002 general elections. He started travelling as much as he could. He and his entourage attended all events the country was invited to and spent up all the country’s resources in his effort (I was convinced at the time)to leave the public treasury completely broke, which he did, for when the PLP took office. His modus operandi now, I am convinced, is the same as it was in the year 2000; spend what the country doesn’t have and leave nothing for the incoming PLP government to work with.

A prominent lawyer opined to me recently; “But Mr. Carroll,” he said, “these guys have two loaded 45 caliber guns at our heads and there is nothing we can do to get rid of them for another two years short of a coupe, which is not our style;” unquote. This, I believe, sums it up and best describes the current mindset of the majority of Bahamians, including many traditional FNM supporters.

We can’t wait; we need change.

Thank you

Forrester J Carroll J.P
Freeport, Grand Bahama
9th July 2010.