Thursday, Dec 12, 2019
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On leadership

Dear Editor,

Leadership has been defined by many social and political science as the art of persuading people to follow your agenda or to adopt one’s positions relative to the growth and development of a corporation or societal organization, a political party a household or even a church comes readily to mind. It is no different here in our wonderful nation.

Dr. Hubert A. Minnis, our erstwhile prime minister is a leader, as is Philip Brave Davis, leader of the iconic Progressive Liberal Party. The clear difference is that the prime minister either does not think things through or he is being badly advised. In Brave’s case, he is a logical thinker and a prolific administrator. Minnis will say one thing today and do something entirely different an hour or two later. Brave is a steady individual and does not appear to suffer from the delusions which seem to have a grip on Minnis.

The FNM as led by Mnnis is on a crash and burn trajectory. The cost of living here in The Bahamas, especially New Providence, is far too high. The majority are barely able to make ends meet. Those who have jobs are the new working poor. The entrepreneur is saddled with high utility bills; huge accounts receivable and massive red tape and unnecessary governmental regulations. The civil servants are a debilitating factor on the national budget in that there are simply too many of them, many of whom are totally unnecessary. Pensions and other economic benefits are literally killing the budget yearly.

It has been announced by the regime that it will have to borrow at least $565 million to cover the costs of Hurricane Dorian and the resultant shortfall in governmental revenue. The national debt is now somewhere in the area of $9 billion and counting. The minister of finance, in my view, along with my good friend Marlon Johnson, the acting financial secretary, do not know what the hell they are doing and we now know that both of them may be incapable of counting.

They, along with the then novice administration, came into office accusing the old PLP, led by a stale, dated prime minister, brother Christie, of wastage and even stated that tens of millions of dollars were unaccounted for. A few weeks into office, the minister of finance and his sidekicks found the so-called missing millions. They never apologized to anyone for that defamatory accusation. During the campaign, many bogus promises were made by the then opposition FNM. In office, it would appear that The Bahamas is on cruise control.

I welcomed the appointment of a minister of state for disasters and national recovery.

My preference would have been Shanendon Cartwright, chairman of the Bahamas Public Parks and Public Beaches Authority. He has the vision, clarity of thoughts and the energy to deal with the after-effects of Dorian and national recovery efforts. Brother Iram Lewis has proved, so far, to be out of his depth, despite being a trained engineer. It must be recognized that while an individual may appear to be suited for a particular position, if he or she never displayed managerial and conceptual skills, as Cartwright has done while with the McDonald’s restaurant chain over the years, they should not be thrust into such uncharted waters.

Real leaders have the capacity to recognize and develop talent among their ambit. Minnis has made some bad appointments and they are reflecting badly on the FNM and may well hurt its chances of being re-elected.

With Brave’s vast experience in and outside of Parliament, coupled with the fact that he is a focused individual, I suggest that despite the hatred which Bahamians displayed towards the former prime minister that the PLP is still recognized, even if begrudgingly, as the party of the unwashed Bahamians. At the rate this regime is going, the new PLP, under Brave’s leadership, may well surprise all and sundry in 2022 or before, God willing.

Governance is not some kind of fly by night operation and the sooner the most honorable prime minister comes to this realization, the sooner the FNM can start to do what is right by and for all Bahamians. To God then, in all things, be the glory.

Ortland H. Bodie, Jr.

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