The great transformation
Dr. Hubert A. Minnis (FNM-Killarney), our erstwhile prime minister, has transformed himself into a real leader right before our eyes. This is remarkable, in that less than a year ago, the good doctor had been written off by many Bahamians and political pundits. I must confess that while I had endorsed him to become leader of the badly demoralized FNM back in 2012, when he appeared on my then radio talk show, “Real Talk Live”, I, too, had my initial doubts that he could rise to the occasion.
The coup attempted by Loretta Butler-Turner and her ill-fated band of plotters failed miserably. She flirted with political flakes, hacks and gadflies. She scored many headlines and was the darling of talk radio and the print media. Some of you thought that she possessed ‘the right stuff’ to outflank Minnis and to become the first substantive female prime minister of our wonderful nation. We now know that she had a bigger bark than her bite. She has been vanquished, politically, and her career in the public arena may well have come to an end. Sad, but it is what it is. Politics is war by a different name. When you strike at an enemy, perceived or real, you must take him/her out with speed and deliberation. She failed and is now history.
The PLP has the right philosophy, but the current leaders, across the board, are out of touch with reality. They were reduced down to the irreducible minimum in the halls of Parliament. Already there are rumors of infighting and jockeying for ascendancy by all and sundry. They are all tarnished by allegations of the highest order, yet they say that they are the best and the brightest, no pun intended, that the PLP has to offer. Whatever they do have to offer will be of no threat to the administration of Dr. Minnis. This man has transformed himself into a political giant and master of all that he surveys.
There is no witch hunt, and the PLP et al must come to terms with reality. If anyone connected with the defunct Christie administration and within the higher ranks of the civil service is found to have been fleecing the taxpayers or engaged in acts of public malfeasance, they must be brought to justice, regardless of the fall out for any party or individual. The police must do their job and do it well, within the protocols of the law and within their constitutional authority, no more, no less.
Already Dr. Minnis has delivered on several planks in the FNM’s electoral platform. Some cry that he has yet to lay out an economic plan. I beg to differ. The mere fact that the Minnis administration is moving to acquire a substantial stake in Our Lucaya in Freeport bodes well for the reactivation of Grand Bahama’s economy. This island is the second-largest population center, with thousands of Bahamians out of work due to the decades-long downturn in that island’s economy under successive governments. It is past time that we get Grand Bahama, with an emphasis on Freeport, up and running as soon as possible. I love the plan to reopen that property before the year’s end.
Crime is already being addressed, even if the homicides continue unabated. There is some loose talk about the death penalty, but do not look for that to be reintroduced anytime soon. We are shackled by the dictates of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Unless and until we amend our constitution to reflect otherwise, there will be no state-sanctioned execution in this lifetime. Our criminal justice system and the penalty concepts must be revisited.
There should be mandatory fixed sentences, without the opportunity for parole or early release, for specific crimes. The dreaded gun court must be reintroduced with a mandate to deal effectively with convicted gunmen and illegal ammunition dealers. A dedicated drug court would also go a long way in sending the right message to the purveyors of death and destruction. Many of us have come to regard marijuana and alcoholic beverages as normal, but, trust me, except when one exercises control, those substances, especially when combined, are toxic. The sub-culture must be eradicated. As a medical doctor, the PM, should be well aware of the immense human costs and loss in national productivity that occurs when we turn a blind eye to these twin societal issues.
There needs to be a great transformation in the way we conduct public affairs in our wonderful nation. With a doctor in the House, as opposed to yet another lawyer, we will be okay for the long haul. Dr. Minnis, like him, hate him or whatever else, is the Great Transformer. He is not eloquent, but he’s an astute individual who survived, against all odds, to become prime minister. He reminds me of President Donald J. Trump, over in the USA. I have no doubt that Trump will make America great again, as will Dr. Minnis do for The Bahamas. To God, then, in all things, be the glory.
– Ortland H. Bodie, Jr.