In preparing to write this opinion piece, my mind went on Napoleon McPhee, one of the leading figures in the Burma Road Riots, who was responsible for burning the Union Jack. It was a symbolic act of rebellion against the British colonial administration.
According to the late historian Michael Craton in his Islanders in the Stream, McPhee famously said the following: “I willing to fight under the flag. I willing to die under the flag. But I ain’t gwine starve under the flag.”
Like McPhee, myself along with the 194,400 plus registered voters, 65 percent who cast their ballots on September 16, are not willing to starve under the new day administration.
While the soaring cost of food is partially due to the current cargo ship logjam off the coast of California, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration’s decision to place value-added tax (VAT) on breadbasket items has exacerbated an already dire situation for tens of thousands of struggling Bahamians.
As press secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Clint Watson has become the face of this PLP administration. Some critics have gone as far as labeling him the acting prime minister. When you think about the PLP administration, the name Clint Watson immediately comes to mind.
Personally, I feel as if he will be the downfall of this administration if we continue along this route. For all intents and purposes, Watson reminds this writer of Squealer in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. Squealer was the mouthpiece of Napoleon’s regime. Whatever popularity he enjoyed as host of “Beyond the Headlines” has all but evaporated.
When I supported the PLP by encouraging family members who are Free National Movement (FNM) loyal supporters to stay far away from the polls in order to get rid of the FNM government, I had no idea that this incoming government would place VAT on breadbasket items.
I more rather the PLP had left the VAT at 12 percent and the zero rate on food. At least under Dr. Hubert Minnis, with all of his well publicized faults as prime minister, I could afford to adequately feed my family.
I was in a major food store and was astonished at the unreasonably inflated prices on milk, orange juice, cooking oil, French fries, iceberg lettuce, rice, foil paper, lamb chop, eggs, pork chop, chicken, mutton and other items.
Adding insult to injury has been the addition of VAT to gasoline. I now find that it is difficult having to avoid spending $250 plus to adequately feed a family of six to eight persons. A family of six could easily see a monthly food bill of $1,000, on top of mortgage payments that have increased due to insurance companies raising the premiums on homeowner’s insurance subsequent to Hurricane Dorian.
One hundred and fifty dollars can hardly get you a trolley full of groceries. With a minimum wage of $210, Bahamians will be catching eternal hell in attempting to nourish their families.
We have now reached the point in which struggling Bahamians can no longer afford to live in their own country.
Remember the “keep your corned beef protest against the Minnis administration several years ago? Had the FNM added VAT to breadbasket items, Watson, Rodney Moncur and Nahaja Black would have all had a field day roasting that administration and rightfully so.
I am willing to work along with the PLP for the betterment of The Bahamas. The country definitely needed to move on from Minnis, but at the cost of not being able to adequately feed your family? I think not.
I ain’t “gwine” starve under the Clint Watson PLP administration. I am imploring the PLP administration to return to its philosophy of looking after the interests of the poor and downtrodden.
No, I not am asking the PLP administration to discriminate against wealthy Bahamians. All I am asking for is that the government stop putting obstacles in the way of lower-class Bahamians who simply want to adequately provide for their families.
As I noted earlier, the PLP government is not solely responsible for the price inflation of food. The cargo ship logjam has played a significant role in that regard.
However, adding VAT to breadbasket items hasn’t helped matters one bit. I wish this government would reverse its decision. That would go a long way in insuring that struggling Bahamians will be able to adequately feed their families.
— Kevin Evans