The peril of the power of one

Dear Editor,

I awoke this morning feeling burdened by a desire to put pen to paper once again to continue the thoughts penned earlier in the morning on my Facebook page, which reflected a sense of malaise that seems to be settling ominously over our beautiful country. How have we reached this bleak point?

The words in W.B. Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming” reverberate:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worse

Are full of passionate intensity.

Admittedly, the current pandemic conditions could well spawn such a negative attitude, but this is not a good place to be in, and I shudder to think that we are mirroring the disastrous shenanigans of our neighbor to the north who, when it sneezes, The Bahamas catches its deadly cold!

As a matter of urgency, I would, therefore, like to put out a call to action for the Bahamian people to pause, reflect, and take serious stock of those dark clouds that threaten to obliterate the rays of bright sunshine that define who we are as a people.

We desperately need an impenetrable buffer of protection to blanket us from this imposing threat!

Individual independence and a proud sense of self formed from a firm foundation of history and culture endows a people with dignity, pride, and confidence.

Just as a baby bird has to learn to leave its nest and fly on its own in order to survive – so, too, must human beings possess the beliefs, knowledge, confidence, and ability to do the same, and provide for themselves and their family.

Our colonial past, coupled with the recent toxic and debilitating ‘gubment’ formula of engendering and encouraging dependence over these post-independence decades, has, ironically enough, brought us to this ignoble space.

There is no doubt that there is, and has been, a serious disconnect for too long between the ‘powers that be’ and the masses of the Bahamian people.

This is the fundamental ‘spoke in the wheel’, which the dual disasters of Dorian and COVID have exacerbated and unveiled with stark clarity.

Mr. Prime Minister, with all due respect, the ‘power of one’ perception in the six-plus months of your ‘competent authority’ role has run its course and should be halted immediately!

We are where we are today because there is much, too much, to do, and it is physically, mentally and realistically impossible for one person to effectively manage such responsibility!

What our country needs now is leadership that is anchored firmly instead within unity, collaboration, and community.

In these unprecedented times, when we should be working together, the reality on the ground reflects the total opposite!

Our country needs unity now more than ever before! Everybody needs to put their shoulders to the wheel, including your Cabinet colleagues and their respective charges who are aimlessly ‘turning and turning in the widening gyre’.

No longer will the distinctive division between ‘us’ versus ‘them’ serve or solve our challenges and our needs – it must be ‘us together’ if we are truly ‘all in this thing together’. Otherwise, ‘the centre cannot hold’ and we are headed for disaster!

Public frustration is palpable, things are falling apart, and a different course must be set with extreme urgency! We can ill afford any further hesitation.

To do so will be at our utmost peril.

Yours sincerely,

Pam Burnside

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