Saturday, October 22, 2011

Branville McCartney and his Democratic National Alliance (DNA) party is not ready to govern The Bahamas

DNA not ready to govern

By Kevin Evans

I would like to comment on the ongoing saga surrounding the leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) and Member of Parliament for Bamboo Town, Branville McCartney.  While I commend the Bamboo Town MP for chiding his parliamentary colleagues for not disclosing their financial assets to the Public Disclosure Commission for the years 2009 and 2010, I take strong exception to him calling Opposition Leader Perry Christie a wimp and Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham a bully.

Both Ingraham and Christie have been in the House of Assembly since 1977.  At that time McCartney was probably just in primary school.  Ingraham and Christie have more than 68 years of combined experience in our parliamentary system.  Branville McCartney, on the other hand, has been in Parliament for only four-and-a-half years.  He served in Ingraham's Cabinet as minister of state for immigration.  He resigned from the Cabinet in early 2010 and he severed ties with the Free National Movement (FNM) earlier this year.

After McCartney left the FNM, he founded the DNA party.  The sudden formation of the DNA after McCartney's exodus from the governing party might very well be an indication that the Bamboo Town MP was planning all along to start his own political party; perhaps as early as 2010.

Remember, in early 2010 McCartney told a Nassau Guardian reporter that he had no intention of resigning from the FNM.  He also told the same reporter that he believed that the FNM was the best party for the country at that time.  So why the sudden change and what's this all about?

McCartney’s ambition

When he was introduced to the constituents of Bamboo Town as the FNM's standard bearer in 2007, or thereabouts, McCartney probably already had ambitions of becoming prime minister after only completing his first term as MP.  Never mind the senior FNM MPs who have faithfully toed the party line for years.  I never heard of Branville McCartney before 2007.  In fact, before 2007 I had never seen him before.  Ingraham ran him in a constituency that has been considered a safe seat for the FNM.  Had it not been for Ingraham, McCartney would not have been in the position he is in today.  Had McCartney ran as an independent candidate in 2007, he would have lost his election deposit.  The FNM has made him, politically speaking, what he is today.

Perhaps McCartney, in calling the prime minister a bully, was simply doing what all opposition parties are expected to do: Oppose the sitting government.  Or maybe the Bamboo Town MP was attempting to gain much-needed publicity.  As the saying goes: All publicity is good publicity.  When McCartney and the DNA came out of the blocks, they had momentum.  The party, however, has lost that momentum during the past few months. The DNA is losing its mojo and appeal.  This is why McCartney has fought hard to stay in the limelight.  Perhaps this can also explain why the Bamboo Town MP has sought to oppose the FNM government on almost every position it holds.  McCartney at times appears to be opposing the Ingraham administration just for the sake of opposing.

Is the public losing affection for McCartney?

Be that as it may, it is crucial that the DNA make the newspaper headlines every week if it wants to remain relevant to The Bahamian people.  The party simply does not have the clout of either the Progressive Liberal Party or the Free National Movement.  I believe that it was the prominent American journalist Margaret Carlson who once said that attention is a depreciating asset.  McCartney and his DNA party would do well to heed this warning.  Bahamians are always looking for the next new thing.  That is why so many Bahamians were euphoric over the initial unveiling of the DNA party.  But it now appears as if all the excitement has cooled down.

McCartney is obviously a very confident man.  He really believes that the Bahamian electorate will support him and his party in 2012.  There's a very thin line between confidence and arrogance, however.  That McCartney and his cadre of inexperienced DNA candidates would even dare to challenge the two most important political parties in Bahamian history tells me that they are biting off more than they can chew.  McCartney is asking The Bahamian electorate to entrust the nation to him and his team of candidates who have little to no experience at running a government.

I think that it would be more prudent for Bahamians to stick with either the FNM or the PLP.  Both of these parties have worked hard to build this nation since majority rule.  Besides, at least we know what we are getting in Ingraham and Christie.

McCartney hasn't even served out his first term as MP, yet he wants to be prime minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.  Ingraham and Christie had been members of Parliament for many years before they became prime minister.  In fact, Christie had served an astounding 25 years before he became prime minister in 2002; Ingraham had served 15 years before he became this nation's chief executive in 1992; and Sir Lynden (Pindling) had served over 10 years before he became premier in 1967.  Furthermore, Ingraham was elected to his position as party leader during the FNM's convention in 2005.  On the other hand, the DNA has not yet held a convention.  In my humble opinion, the Bamboo Town MP is just too inexperienced for such an important position.

DNA government would harm country

I am afraid that if the DNA wins the 2012 general election, the party might very well end up running this country aground.  With all due respect to McCartney and the DNA, I don't believe that they are ready to govern The Bahamas.

Being a successful business person does not mean you are ready to sit around the cabinet table and make decisions that will impact the lives of over 330,000 Bahamians.  Managing a grocery store or a laundromat is way different from managing a country.

Handling the finances of a law firm is not the same as handling the finances of a nation.

Right now the DNA candidates are way out of their league.  The candidates are way in over their heads, with all due respect to them.  Maybe it would be best if the DNA candidates all get involved with local government.

They could gain much valuable experience at the local government level before attempting to get into the big leagues.

Oct 21, 2011