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Wikileaks and the fate of Bahamian politicians

All Bahamian politicians should be concerned about what is to come from the Wikileaks-leaked United States diplomatic cables. With nearly 400 cables on The Bahamas in the possession of the online whistle-blower, 2011 should be an interesting year.

Members of the Progressive Liberal Party(PLP)are hoping cables to come reveal a damning connection between the U.S. and senior members of the governing Free National Movement(FNM). However, the first thing on The Bahamas released on Tuesday related to the most embarrassing moment from the PLP’s last term in government: The Anna Nicole Smith scandal.

It is fascinating to read the thoughts of U.S. officials on the Bahamian situation. It is remarkable that they considered PLP MP Shane Gibson with near contempt. He was described as a”puppet of the privileged”for fast tracking Smith’s permanent residency application.

For Gibson yesterday must have been an embarrassing day. Once again, he was the lead story in both national daily newspapers regarding his close friendship with Smith. The rehashing of that story does not help the PLP or Gibson.

Those PLPs that were a part of the John Travolta saga should also be concerned. If those cables are in the possession of Wikileaks, they too will be mentioned in local and international headlines just as Gibson was yesterday.

What is to come, however, could have more serious consequences for those mentioned. Yesterday, published cables referencing an alleged conversation between U.S. officials and the wife of Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding, Lorna Golding, caused problems in that country. The purported conversation was about the extradition of alleged drug dealer Christopher”Dudus”Coke.

Drug trafficking is the major national security issue for the U.S. in The Bahamas. Cables about the suspected involvement of prominent Bahamians in the trade, or the lack of cooperation of a government or political party in the drug war, could end political careers.

The effect of the leak of these cables will be significant. The inability of the U.S. government to ensure that confidential information remains confidential will likely make Bahamians a little more hesitant to cooperate with the Americans.

What the cables indicate, without question, is that every conversation with a U.S. official could be recorded by the local embassy. Bahamians must understand that the Americans are not our friends. They are here out of self interest.

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