Your editorial of the February 28 (“McAlpine: An error of selection that persists”) represents a new low point of Bahamian editorial journalism.
As an example of strident political bias, your studied distraction in the face of the FNM’s latest example of maladministration (the “egregious” behavior of two cabinet ministers in the Frank Smith trial) stands unrivaled to date.
It is not hard to imagine the hysterical tones into which your editorial column would have erupted if a PLP government, after wasting unknown sums of money on the prosecution of its opponents (the AG refusing to disclose how much), found two of its members chastised by a member of the judiciary in the manner that Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt reserved for ministers Duane Sands and Marvin Dames.
But the FNM is in power, so, instead of vigorously calling out the stunning hypocrisy of the government of the day, you distract your readership with petty and spurious attacks on anyone who dares take strong issue with such hypocrisy. Last week it was the PLP, whom you pedantically excoriated for boycotting Parliament. Now it is the turn of Frederick McAlpine, whom you suggest (with hints of the defense team at Nuremberg) ought to be a “team player” even when the team is breaking the rules and the coach clearly is out of his league.
By their actions, ministers Dames and Sands have forfeited the confidence of all right-thinking Bahamians, including, it would appear, a member of the judiciary. They have abused their offices in a highly public and visible manner, even while their party continues to rant hollow slogans about “corruption” against its political opponents.
In any other Westminster democracy, the pressure from civil society for the resignation of these two ministers would be unbearable. But in The Bahamas, thanks to the deep and persistent bias of respected media outlets like yourselves, the pressure is muted.
In the absence of an objective press, deflection is the preferred defense of ministers, with Sands even invoking a demonic scapegoat. His response to reporters asking him if he planned to heed calls to resign? “The devil is a liar.” No explanation is provided as to the relevance of that observation to his having met with a prosecution witness (and campaign contributor of his) in the trial of a political opponent and awarded her a lucrative contract without prior board approval.
As for Dr. Hubert Minnis himself, having promised to explain the actions of his two ministers at a political event in Freeport, the prime minister resorted instead to repeating unfounded and decreasingly compelling accusations of corruption against the PLP. He also took the time to politicize the trial of well-known Grand Bahama PLPs now underway. It is a pattern repeated over and over again: apparent malfeasance followed by distraction, bristling defensiveness and unfulfilled promises of explanation.
And yet The Guardian’s editorial team finds so little to focus on in these myriad glaring instances of ineptitude and stubborn opaqueness on the part of the present government that readers are instead fed a steady diet of strained indignation over the microscopic missteps of its critics. Shame on you.
– Andrew Allen