Friday, December 17, 2010

Say, Sway and Raw Power

The Bahama Journal Editorial

Available evidence suggests that, the Progressive Liberal Party and a number of unions are apparently finding themselves united as regards certain aspects of that deal that would –if approved- provide Cable and Wireless a fifty one per cent stake in BTC.

On the other hand, the governing party seems to be suggesting that they have been blind-sided by union leadership and that, in addition, they are adamant that, the Bahamian people are getting a good deal, moving forward.

These are the bones of contention between the governing party, its Opposition and the unions.

Evidently, politics matters.

And here, as we revert to some of what the Opposition is saying, we note where they say that, “…The PLP holds fast to the belief that the sale of BTC to C&W is a ‘national issue’ and not a political issue as there is a general concurrence on the Privatization of BTC.

“To this end the primary spokespersons outside the Halls of Parliament have been primarily the Party’s Chairman, the Leader and Deputy Leader. This position by the PLP has been clearly demonstrated with the ongoing Senate Debates, as opposition members, despite attempts to be censored, continue to hammer the Government for not making public the details of the Memorandum of Understanding on the BTC / C&W Deal…”

The PLP concludes on this note of warning, explaining that, “…the government continues to stubbornly proceed with this bad deal despite mounting national opposition by the People of the Bahamas. Considering the above factors, the PLP again call on the Prime Minister to make public the details of the sale by releasing the Memorandum of Understanding on the BTC / C&W Deal without further delay. More importantly, we call on the government to listen to the majority of the People and cancel the Government’s plans to sell BTC to Cable & Wireless…”

And so, the battle lines have been drawn.

Evidently, these battle lines recapitulate parameters that have proven decisive in times past – with workers and others ranged in alliance with one party or the other.

Only time will tell how this struggle will eventuate.

But even as we wait for time’s verdict, we can say with some high degree of confidence that, the struggle is on; and that, those who oppose the BTC deal are seemingly on the offensive; with their quarry – the governing Free National Movement now pulling out the stops in order to better sell the deal they thought they had in the bag.

But notwithstanding those aspects of this matter that turn on the use of raw power by some in the halls of parliament, we are today somewhat discomfited by some of the tactics used by the Speaker in the Assembly; particularly where it seems as if he ignored the right of Her Majesty’s Opposition to speak, once notice of adjournment was announced.

While –like others- we have no way of divining what could have motivated him to act as he did; suffice it to say that he left us and quite a number of other right-thinking persons with the sense that he was acting in the immediate political interests of the ruling party in the Assembly.

While we would like to think otherwise, the evidence directs us the clear conclusion that, Mr. Speaker erred when he acted as he did this Wednesday past.

But be that as it may, we hope that –in time- Mr. Speaker would have the good grace to explain himself to each and every member of that august assembly; this in order to convince them that he was not biased in his recent decision making.

Now while we are quite aware of some of those other aspects of this matter that now provide the Opposition with so much political fodder; we are still adamant that, they should have been given an opportunity to speak.

In addition, we would have much preferred that things had gone in such a way so that, those who lead and those who would lead might have had an opportunity to say Merry Christmas to each other and to send similar greetings to their constituents.

And clearly, we do believe that, the Opposition should have been given an opportunity – on the notice of adjournment to speak.

This is a time honored tradition in any number of countries that would hew to the democratic way of doing things; where while governments might have their sway, those in Opposition should have their say.

Evidently, while this nostrum might be heeded in other jurisdictions, there seems to be some difficulty with it as parliamentarians dicker and debate the matter concerning the proposed ‘sale’ of BTC to Cable and Wireless.

And so today, we regret the way things have happened in the Assembly; and as they might have done, we wish them all a Merry Christmas.

December 17, 2010

The Bahama Journal Editorial