Thursday, Apr 25, 2019
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Are PLPs being systematically purged from the civil service?

Dear Editor,

In light of the eight senior ranking officers of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) and the one island administrator who were dismissed recently, is there sufficient prima facie evidence to substantiate the claim that the Free National Movement (FNM) government is purging the civil service of Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) supporters? Or are the allegations of political victimization a red herring fallacy being used by PLP Chair Fred Mitchell and Deputy Leader Chester Cooper to stoke the flames of passion among PLP grassroots, at a time the party is desperate to lay hold of anything that would resonate with the Bahamian electorate, when all that is taking place is an innocent restructuring exercise within the armed forces that previous governments have carried out?

The FNM is currently celebrating the life and legacy of one of its founding fathers, the late Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, who along with Maurice Moore, Dr. Elwood Donaldson, Dr. Curtis McMillan, James Shepherd, Sir Arthur Foulkes, George Thompson and Warren J. Levarity severed ties with the PLP and became known as the Dissident Eight in 1970. The nascent political party, initially called the Free-PLP, had a well-documented falling out with the late Sir Lynden Pindling over allegations of political victimization and totalitarianism within the PLP and across the colony of The Bahamas. In stark contrast to the PLP in the 1970s, the FNM was formed on the basis of being a paragon of democracy. Throughout his 25 years of leading The Bahamas, Sir Lynden was routinely accused of victimization against FNMs and other political foes, even disloyal PLPs. Pindling did plenty to advance The Bahamas. But for the few FNMs employed by the government, it was unsafe to openly express one’s politics.

I am not recapitulating the shortcomings of the father of the modern Bahamas in an effort to tarnish his image and legacy. I am just saying what has been stated since time immemorial by contemporary historians. My belief is that the PLP under Pindling simply carried over the victimizing policies of their predecessors in office, the Bay Street oligarchs of the United Bahamian Party. My point in saying all this is that if the FNM has indeed victimized PLPs, the governing party has deviated from its core principles that the Dissident Eight had enshrined in the party.

However, it would appear that the PLP’s entire case of a political purge is entirely based on one of the eight senior ranking RBPF officers being a known PLP supporter, while conveniently ignoring the news of several Royal Bahamas Defence Force officers who were also sent on leave.

And so because the said officer is PLP, Cooper and Co. all want us to automatically assume that the remaining seven officers are PLPs as well. But my question is this: How would’ve Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis known the political persuasion of each of the officers, unless the PLP wants us to believe that Minnis is either omniscient or that the officers are vocal PLP supporters who openly obstructed the crime fighting policies of the FNM? What’s more, with the Bahamian electorate being split right down the middle, one can safely assume that at least half the 25,000 public servants are PLPs, many of whom have financial dependants numbering in the tens of thousands. Assuming that the Minnis administration is currently in the process of purging the civil service of PLPs, what is the likelihood of the government terminating over 12,000 Bahamians, thereby further alienating thousands of Bahamians? If one PLP has been fired solely on the basis of his or her political views, then the FNM is dead wrong. PLPs are taxpayers just like FNMs, and are entitled to all that this country has to offer. No PLP should be disenfranchised.

As Dr. Martin Luther king once said, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. But I don’t believe that the FNM would be that irresponsible and heartless in putting thousands of Bahamians out to pasture. To do so would be political suicide. Victimization is not the FNM’s modus operandi. The allegation of political purging is pure political rhetoric.

 

– Kevin Evans

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