Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The return of Perry Christie as prime minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas

The return of Perry Christie

thenassauguardian editorial

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has defeated Hubert Ingraham and his Free National Movement (FNM) in a landslide victory, returning Perry Christie to the post of prime minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

Christie became the first one-term prime minister of an independent Bahamas in 2007 when Hubert Ingraham and the FNM defeated his party.  In the 2007 general election campaign Ingraham, his friend, waged an all out attack on Christie, branding him as weak, lazy and incompetent as a leader.  Those attacks on the PLP continued during its five-year term in opposition and accelerated during the 2012 election campaign.  Christie endured and he has defeated and retired Ingraham.

When Christie lost in 2007, it was largely due to a perceived permissive leadership style.  There were many gaffes and scandals during the PLP’s term and many thought Christie could have been firmer in response to the misbehavior of some of his members.

Christie has a chance.  He must learn from his errors.  To lead is to choose.  To lead is to make sure that those under you follow in a responsible and orderly manner.  Christie must do this this time.

He must also urgently move to address several major issues facing our country.

The Ingraham administration borrowed an extraordinary amount of money during the last few years of the party’s mandate.  The debt position of the country must be assessed and the country must be set on a course of sustainable growth.

The country also has a serious crime problem.  The PLP has pledged a robust anti-crime program.  We will watch carefully to see if it works.  The PLP savaged the FNM on the crime issue.  Now it must deliver.  If it does not, it will face quite the attack for promising solutions and not delivering.

Another pressing issue for Christie and his new government will be the roadwork project in New Providence.  It is significantly over-budget and has harmed and annoyed many Bahamians.

Jose Cartellone Construcciones Civiles must state whether or not it can finish this work in a timely fashion, if not, the new government needs to find another contractor or contractors.

These are just a few of the main issues the new government must face immediately.  The PLP will have a major majority when all the counting is done.  It must use this historic vote to prove it is serious about governing in the best interest of the Bahamian people.  Christie must be the watchdog and ensure that members of his party do not take advantage of the positions of privilege they hold.

Hubert Ingraham should return to the House of Assembly

Ingraham is the second most significant politician in modern Bahamian history after his mentor Sir Lynden Pindling.  Ingraham announced last night that he will not be sworn in as the member of Parliament for North Abaco and he will not swear in as leader of the opposition.  He also resigned as FNM leader.

Ingraham did the right thing by stepping down as FNM leader.  That move demonstrated maturity.  Ingraham, though, should swear in and come to the House of Assembly so that he can be given the proper dignified parliamentary send off he deserves before retiring from Parliament.

When Sir Lynden Pindling lost in the epic FNM landslide in 1997, Sir Lynden returned to the House.  On his last day MPs spoke on Sir Lynden’s legacy.  Ingraham gave a comprehensive address on the good and the bad of the Pindling years.  Sir Lynden understood that he was a historic figure; he knew that moment in the House was important for the historic record.  He subjected himself to the moment.  Ingraham should do the same.

Last night’s loss was nothing to be embarrassed about.  Ingraham has won three mandates.  He has done much for the development of The Bahamas.  We should hear one last time in the House from the man who came from poverty to be prime minister, who won the Abaco seat eight times.  This type of goodbye would be fitting for a great leader.

May 08, 2012

thenassauguardian editorial