Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The facts of Haitian President Michel Martelly visit to The Bahamas have been twisted out of all proportion... not only by the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) leader - Bran McCartney... but by Opposition leader Perry Christie and his Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) colleagues

The Haitian president not invited - just passing through

tribune242 editorial

DNA LEADER Bran McCartney has called for the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, accusing him of committing treason for allowing Haitian President Michel Martelly not only to overnight in the Bahamas, but to meet with his nationals while here.

"We are calling for the immediate resignation of Hubert Alexander Ingraham," DNA leader Bran McCartney told the press. "He has shamelessly disgraced our nation, his authority and this nation's ideals. He has insulted our people and his post as CEO of the Bahamas. He should indeed bow his head and be cast out, as it is clear he has denounced his citizenship in order to put another country's interest before his own."

What a fiery young man Mr McCartney has turned out to be. The more he talks, the more he confirms our opinion that we are dealing with a political novice who needs much more time to mature. At this critical stage of our country's development, this is not the type of ill-informed leadership that is needed. It almost sounds as though we have a budding dictator on our hands.

The facts of the Martelly visit have been twisted out of all proportion, not only by Mr McCartney, but by Opposition leader Perry Christie and his colleagues.

To listen to them, one would have thought that Mr Ingraham had given President Martelly a script from which to read. Mr Ingraham did not invite the president to Nassau. He did not tell him that before he could talk to his own people he had to first submit a script of what he intended to say to the Bahamas government, and if he dared misstep he would be kicked out of the country. This certainly is not the procedure expected of a democratic country.

Mr McCartney also condemned Mr Christie for being "too quiet on this issue of national importance". We would have expected Mr Christie, a seasoned politician, to have continued his silence on the matter knowing the protocol of such visits. But not Mr Christie, he could not be seen by his supporters as being weak and so was goaded on to make himself look foolish. After all, it was Mr Christie and his party that seemed to take more of a personal interest in the President's presence than did Mr Ingraham and his government.

For example, no FNM politicians attended the Joe Farrington Road meeting when President Martelly addressed his people. However, there certainly were PLP politicians present that night, among them MP Alfred Sears, former PLP attorney general, and Dr Andre Rollins, PLP candidate for Fort Charlotte. And so, until he could read the news the next day, neither Mr Ingraham, nor any of his cabinet, knew what the Haitian president had said to the estimated 7,000 persons crowded around him that night.

Mr Ingraham officially met the president in his office the next morning -- before he had had an opportunity to be briefed on what had taken place the evening before. However, Mr Christie later in the day not only knew what had been said -- to which he now so strongly objects -- but entertained Mr Martelly at his home with several of his PLP colleagues around him. If Mr Christie, or any of his colleagues, had disagreed with anything that had been said the night before, it was there and then that they should have had a discussion and cleared the air. But no, Mr Christie had to jump on the political bandwagon and condemn the visit. Did he really believe in what he was saying from a public platform, or was it only after being accused of being "too quiet" that he spoke up?

President Martelly neither asked, nor did he need permission to visit the Bahamas.
Contrary to Mr McCartney's statement, the Bahamas government did not invite Mr Martelly to the Bahamas. The President's government notified Foreign Affairs that Mr Martelly would be passing through the Bahamas on his way to Mexico. While here, he wanted to meet with the Prime Minister and the Governor General. These meetings took place.

Mr Ingraham said that Mr Martelly needed no permission to meet with his people.
He pointed out that the PLP went to London to meet with "Bahamian students in connection with the election that is coming up to encourage them to support the PLP because they have overseas voting. They went to Jamaica to do the same thing. They went to Miami, Atlanta and, I believe, New York, etc. Do you think they asked President Barack Obama whether they could come and do that? Of course not. Did they ask Prime Minister Cameron of Great Britain? No, they didn't. Why should the Haitian or the Jamaican or anybody else need to ask us permission to do so? We are a free country. We are a democracy. And just as we are able to go to other people's country and meet with our nationals at any time of our choosing, why shouldn't they have the same right to do so in The Bahamas?"

However, Mr Ingraham did give Mr McCartney some sound advice.

"One of the things that young politicians and old politicians ought to do," he said, "is to establish themselves as credible persons; that you take steps to verify things before you make pronouncements. You don't go and shoot your mouth off and make statements that are untrue and that can easily be verified in advance. Carelessness is not a good thing for a young politician, or indeed an old politician. I caution Mr McCartney not to continue telling lies."

February 13, 2012

tribune242 editorial