House Speaker Halson Moultrie’s prediction on Guardian Radio in mid-February that elections will be held before the month of June, if not sooner, is running out of time for its fulfillment.
Already into the first week of May, time is of the essence for Moultrie, who played the game of Nostradamus with the Bahamian people, especially in light of the fact that the House of Assembly has yet to be dissolved a little under four weeks until June arrives.
It was a bold prediction indeed. Moultrie’s prediction was based on the current state of the national coffers, which have been decimated by the COVID-19 global recession.
Like Michel de Nostredame hundreds of years ago, Moultrie made a grave miscalculation in misreading the tea leaves. In early February, the Ministry of Finance stated that the budget deficit for the first six months of the 2020/2021 fiscal period was $736.1 million. In September, the national debt was estimated at $9.3 billion. Moultrie’s prediction came two weeks after the budget deficit revelation.
With the budgetary period looming in June, the Nassau Village MP believed that the Free National Movement (FNM) government would be forced into calling an election ahead of the new fiscal year, rather than running the risk of alienating tens of thousands of Bahamian voters by introducing new taxes or increasing existing ones.
Moultrie confidently stated that the Minnis administration “cannot go no further than June, without finding some other mechanism to generate revenue”. Those were his exact words.
With his abrupt adjournment of the House of Assembly last week coupled with the standoff between him and FNM parliamentarians on May 5, I am beginning to suspect that the former Bahamas Freedom Alliance leader is attempting to force the government’s hand in fulfilling his election prophecy.
Marred by one controversy after another, the FNM top brass must now re-evaluate its candidate vetting process, as Moultrie has shown time and again that he was never an FNM.
The FNM should’ve learned from the mistake made by former Prime Minister Perry Christie in running Dr. Andre Rollins of the defunct National Development Party in Fort Charlotte in 2012. Rollins would prove to be a thorn in the side of the Christie administration. These political hybrid arrangements seem to cause a lot of issues for the incumbent administrations.
Based on the bio I have read on the Nassau Village MP, he seems to be a devout Christian who regularly attends a prominent Charismatic church in Nassau. If the information regarding him is accurate, Moultrie wasted a grand opportunity to make a significant impact for the cause of Jesus Christ in the House of Assembly.
Engaging in public spats with the leadership of the government and official opposition has undoubtedly ruined his once promising political career, as the only path to Parliament is through the FNM and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). If anyone should know this, it is the former leader of the Bahamas Freedom Alliance.
FNM and PLP politicos are suggesting that the Nassau Village MP is unhappy with the FNM hierarchy for refusing to renominate him. They are on to something.
The FNM has opted instead to field former Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union chief Nicole Martin in Nassau Village.
I suspect that Moultrie believes that the FNM will most certainly lose the government whenever elections are called. This can probably explain why he seems to be so anxious for the governing party to hold an early election.
It would be his way of getting political revenge on the organization for purportedly slighting him in Nassau Village.
I think the best way Moultrie could’ve handle his situation was by allowing his constituents to speak up on his behalf to the FNM top brass, rather than giving the appearance of derailing House proceedings.
In my opinion, an election will not change the current financial situation of scores of thousands of Bahamians, who have either been furloughed or outright terminated from their jobs due to COVID-19.
COVID-19 has all but shattered the illusion of The Bahamas being a wealthy nation, as thousands of ordinary Bahamians are accustomed to living from hand to mouth.
No matter what happens to this FNM government at the polls, Moultrie will continue to live comfortably.
An early election for him seems to be his way of settling a score with the FNM hierarchy, rather than bringing much needed relief to a people who are psychologically exhausted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, with the prime minister not being constitutionally obligated to call an election until May 2022, I am of the belief that he will hold off on calling for one until the economy begins to improve and Bahamians are back to work and the memory of COVID-19 begins to diminish.
Like the many failed prophecies uttered by the 16th century French clairvoyant Nostradamus, it looks like Moultrie’s prediction will also fall flat on its face.
— Kevin Evans