Next time you pick up this newspaper we will have a new government. This is my second election cycle while helming this publication. And I have seen some – interesting – things in those five years.
In the up-is-down, left-is-right political climate we’re living in I have become desensitized to a lot of news. But a recent one really got to me. I’m speaking about our Minister of Education groveling on his knees, via email, for illegal business from the Baha Mar crew.
And, no, that government member has not been asked to withdraw himself. He doesn’t even deny it. Are we entitled to expect something different? To expect something decent? Can we answer that based on what we have seen these past five years?
Bahamians do a disservice to ourselves by normalizing corruption. Via jokes and anecdotes we expound on open secrets that frustrate our democracy.
Stories of government servants’ infidelity to the Bahamian public become punchlines. They become a resigned example of “The way things are.” They are accepted as par-for-the-course and they receive about half of the votes because Bahamians are loyal to nothing if not party lines.
But it should not be this way. We pay them and they owe their power to us. Instead we treat them like demi-gods. We yip at their heels like red or yellow political dogs hoping for scraps. We must demand more than scraps. We must not be dogs.
A truly honourable government would not serve themselves first and then dish out treats to “loyal” voters. A respectable government thinks of the people first. In these past five years I cannot say that I have seen the public’s interest put above personal interest.
These expectations are not revolutionary. These demands are not unreasonable. But we have been passive for so long that we perceive the system, as it is, to be unshakeable. We hope if we show our loyalty to whoever the kennel master is we will be rewarded with scraps from the table.
We must send a message that shakes not only the current government out of its contentment, but send a clear message to all future governments: FNM, PLP, DNA or whoever they may be, that we will not stand for this malaise of corruption.
Don’t settle for an Election Day “victory” for whoever you claim as your party. Take action not only for yourself but for the future of this nation and our children.
Don’t accept poorly-considered regulations that hinder growth with no determinable benefits. Don’t accept taxes that cripple working families – hurting the poor much more than the rich. Don’t be quiet because “Your guy” is in power.
We have accepted scams. These utterances from parliament are an embarrassment.
No government can answer all the problems that haunt a nation. But from what I have seen – the answers are pitiful if they are authentically trying to help. And wretched if they are not.
What I see come out of Parliament makes it very difficult for me to give any sort of benefit-of-the-doubt anymore.
I don’t really have much else to say. I have to live with what happens to our country for the next 40-50 years. Many of us do.
Enough lip service. Enough bottom-of-the-barrel ethical standards. Enough accepting “Better than what it was” if what it is still is not good enough.
There is so much work to be done. You, dear reader, want a better Bahamas. I want a better Bahamas. We can only do that together.
Thank you for reading.
Bradley Monty Albury