In the final chapter of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Clover and the other animals had grave difficulty in distinguishing Napoleon and the pigs from Mr. Pilkington and the other human guests at the house on Manor Farm.
In contravention of Old Major’s utopic Animalism, the pigs had become the humans they initially detested, before the successful coup that overthrew Mr. Jones.
The same metaphor aptly applies too many Bahamian voters and certain career politicians, past and present, who are deemed to be corrupt.
I believe that corrupt politicians are a reflection of Bahamians in general, whether we want to admit it or not. For all intents and purposes, they are molded in our fallen image.
We Bahamians have unreasonable expectations of our MPs, whom we expect to strike a bonanza when they’re elected to the House of Assembly.
An MP is tasked with having to provide government jobs and lucrative contracts to their campaign generals and close relatives.
The patriarchs and matriarchs of his constituency are also on the gravy train, as they’re considered to be “honorary stalwarts” of the political party he represents.
The MP is burdened by having to visit the honorary stalwart’s home on a regular basis, attend funerals, weddings and other functions, usually held on weekends, which are oftentime consuming and taxing with very little time left for his family.
Nevertheless, failure to do so would result in the MP being labeled lousy and ineffective, with little consideration given to the capital projects and social programs in his constituency.
The MP also has to dig deep into his pocket, after having exhausted the $28,000 MP salary or the allotted $100,000 for his constituency, in order to assist his parasite constituents.
Even if the government implements a hiring freeze, honorary stalwarts still expect their MP to circumvent that freeze in order to get their close relatives on the already bloated civil service payroll.
The MP is also expected to pull strings to get the jailbird relatives of campaign generals and honorary stalwarts out of legal trouble.
With limited resources to cover a constituency with over 4,000 eligible voters, not counting non-voters, the temptation to cut deals with shady foreign and domestic investors becomes all the more alluring, especially with the MP fearing the prospects of losing his parliamentary seat.
In this regard, he’s as much a victim of the Bahamian fatalistic political system as law-abiding taxpayers who pay his meager salary.
Bahamians in general have a very dim view of politicians, notwithstanding the oft-repeated platitudes showered on deceased politicians at their state funerals.
Bahamians are of the belief that the political system is marred by corruption, without recognizing the active roles they have played in making it so.
We, the voters, have created an environment conducive for political corruption. Who is the cause for corrupt politicians in The Bahamas? Each Bahamian should take a long stare in the mirror in order to get an answer to that question!
— Kevin Evans