Tuesday, Sep 24, 2019
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Insulting our intelligence

Had the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) been in office, it would have announced that the Exuma airport has been started; the school in Black Point and its clinic fixed and functional; and it would have announced a buyer for the Grand Lucayan resort, complete with the requisite supporting airlift, according to Leader of the Opposition Philip Brave Davis.

Davis also said Ragged Island would have been well on its way to being back on its feet again and the construction of a new runway at Lynden Pindling International Airport would be well underway.

“The PLP would have said something to give people hope, in other words,” said Davis, in his response to the national address delivered by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis on Monday night.

It’s just amazing how the opposition party always has all the answers.

It’s even more amazing when the same people who were in government suddenly have plans to fix everything, from infrastructure to the economy, to education to healthcare.

You name it.

What’s more is that Davis was the deputy prime minister and the minister of works.

The Exuma airport was and still is a picture of disgrace for an island that has seen tremendous growth in its tourism product over the years.

No government can do everything in five years, particularly in an archipelagic nation like ours with its many challenges. But it’s irritating when Davis and his colleagues pretend they were not in office just 20 months ago failing to fix the same problems they now raise holy hell about.

This is why it is so difficult for them to make inroads, notwithstanding the lackluster performance of the current administration and the far-from-inspirational leadership of Minnis.

If a PLP administration would have announced an operator for the Grand Lucayan, complete with requisite supporting airlift, then why did it not do so prior to May 2017?

If it has the answers now, if it now knows what to do, then why did it not have the answers then and do what it professes now to know?

Is Davis saying that opposition has provided the PLP with a unique perspective to finding the answers, or does he just believe the Bahamian people are naive enough to swallow his cockamamie claims?

Davis did not provide a sensible or reasoned response to Minnis’ national report on the economy. Being a politician is about politics, yes, but the official opposition also has a duty to be measured, sensible and constructive in its criticisms.

In 2017, the Bahamian people had their fill of the PLP and its failed governance. That’s why they voted the PLP out of office.

Now leader of the party, Davis has claimed the PLP understood the lessons of the defeat, but he and his colleagues repeatedly fail to demonstrate that they do.

This is why PLP Deputy Leader Chester Cooper was the laughing stock when he proclaimed at a rally week before last that if the prime minister does not resign, the opposition may seek to move a motion of no confidence against him.

What a shallow approach to appearing relevant.

It is depressing to know that this is the alternative to the current government.

Cooper and the PLP sought to waste time to grab a headline or two. Such a vote would not have a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding. Just the pronouncement makes the PLP look desperate, visionless and unchanged.

It has a lot to say about a lot in opposition, but often comes off as hypocritical.

Former Minister of Social Services Melanie Griffin was in the news the other day expressing alarm that Minister of Social Services Frankie Campbell told reporters not to ask him about rape. She called his comment inappropriate and unimaginable.

We agree with her, as did many Bahamians who were also appalled by the minister’s statement.

But we could not help but remember calling her back in 2014, when Leslie Miller, the then Tall Pines MP, spoke in Parliament about beating an ex-girlfriend.

Griffin, at the time social services minister, was careful not to condemn Miller’s inexcusable comments. That’s because he is a PLP. He was a colleague.

She told us she had no comment on the Leslie Miller matter. In this sense, her response — or lack thereof — was no better than the recent response Campbell gave to the rape question.

If PLPs want to cleanse their party’s image and convey it as a changed force, they really ought to think more strategically about how they do that and what they project in public.

The Bahamian people have not forgotten why they chased the PLP out of office in 2017, even if they are today far from pleased with the performance of the crew they elected.

In that statement responding to Minnis, Davis declared, “Hubert Minnis and his administration have been a disaster for this country.”

But the PLP is not presenting us with an alternative that we can take seriously.

Davis and his colleagues need to rework their strategy.

The PLP continues to demonstrate a lack of depth of thought.

They seem to think the Bahamian people are stupid or have short-term memories.

It’s an insult to the intelligence of the voters who made an important decision in wiping the PLP out of office.

The PLP has yet to make a case for why it should return.

Candia Dames

Candia Dames is the executive editor of the Nassau Guardian.

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