As the self-appointed defender of this FNM government, the letter writer temporarily dubbing himself ‘The Graduate’ in Monday’s Tribune launched a silly and self-righteous attack on Nicki Kelly for suggesting that our prime minister seems weak-kneed before wealthy foreigners yet dismissive of poor and ordinary Bahamians. He suggests she was employing a “dog whistle”.
Whether or not Dr. Hubert Minnis is driven by the inferiority complex that Kelly asserts, is she not entitled to draw that conclusion from countless real-world actions and omissions of his government since coming to office?
Did his government not choose (against the advice of every economist and over the howls of the whole population) to hammer poor and middle-class Bahamians with a regressive 12 percent VAT, while backing down in the face of one letter from one Henry Cabot Lodge III of Lyford Cay and assuring residents of that wealthy enclave that their pitifully light real property tax bills will not rise?
Every scintilla of available evidence says that taxes on the poor (as opposed to taxes on property and income) reduce economic growth while widening the gap between rich and poor. Yet every move on taxes and spending by Minnis and company has been to cut services to the poor, pile taxes on the poor and middle-class and sycophantically back away from progressive taxation on wealthy people and corporations.
His government’s response to wage demands of public servants and hotel workers is always the same – claiming to be broke. Yet this flies in the face of a lackluster approach to collecting taxes from the very wealthiest – as exemplified by the Lyford Cay episode.
Rather than piling on those (like Kelly) who draw their own conclusions as to the motivations of Dr. Minnis in making the ill-advised decisions that he does, The Graduate should use whatever influence he has with the prime minister to guide him away from the things that give rise to her observations in the first place.
– Andrew Allen