The Bahamas Government has been fortunate over the years. They’ve been fortunate to rule over people who feel that they have no right to question them.
A people who don’t understand that the power the politician wields is only a fraction of that of the people and in fact is in proxy of the people.
Fortunate that people would work against their own best interest in support of their political party.
Bahamian governments have been blessed with a passive, weak and divided people.
How do I know this?
Because there have been numerous incidents that an active, strong and united people would not have tolerated from its government, That Bahamians have simply shrugged and moved on.
Here are 10 Incidents That Bahamians Should’ve Been In The Streets Protesting
1. Member of Parliament Leslie Miller Boasting About Inflicting Physical Violence On Women
In a country with over 1200 domestic violence cases annually and 45% of murders over the last 20 years attributed to domestic violence, Millers comments should not have been tolerated. Women should’ve been in the streets protesting until his resignation or firing. Instead he continues to enjoy his position and the perks that comes with it.
How bad were Miller’s comments? Listen for yourself
2. 10 Million Dollars Worth of Pharmaceutical Drugs Unaccounted For At PHA
The situation at the PHA is a perfect example of the blatant mismanagement of our country’s resources that has led us to the point where we’re burdened by tremendous debt. The PHA has everything; poor internal control that allows companies to get paid and not deliver supplies, poor management practices that bypass or interfere with normal HR procedures and shell companies with no physical address, phone or email that were just set up weeks before getting advanced payments.
The forensic report on the PHA alleges that there is a culture of “Slackness and Corruption” at the organization. We should be pissed because the waste of funds at the PHA and other agencies is directly responsible for the government continuing to borrow money which leads to more taxes on the average citizen.
3. Signing of $650 Million Letter of Intent by Parliamentary Secretary Renward Wells
Renward Wells, a Parliamentary Secretary signed a contract way above his pay grade in July 4th 2014 and it took the Government almost 4 months to fire him or rather to make his position “vacant” whatever that means. He had no authority to sign the letter of intent and there are questions as to whether he received instructions from someone higher up and if there is some kind of internal struggle between the PM and DPM.
At the end of the day $650 Million is a hell of a lot of money to play around with and the Bahamian people should demand a full accounting of what took place or lead up to Mr. Wells signing that letter. This is another example of the slackness and corruption that is hurting this country.
Having Freedom of Information in place would’ve have been great to clarify this matter.
4. Nolle Prosequi in Gun Possession Case
Guns are wreaking havoc on the streets of the capitol. It has lead many to question where these guns are coming from. With that in mind it is troubling that a couple, Americans suspected of possible gun smuggling would be given a nolle prosequi by the office of the Attorney general.
There are many young men who are in jail because they were found to possess guns, but here is someone suspected of trafficking in drugs basically being let off the hook by the government, with no explanation and under very suspicious circumstances.
Whats even more troubling is that these good folks were former clients of the current Attorney General… go figure.
There is a clear need for transparency in this case and the public should be outraged by this situation
5. Nassau Dump On Fire
Massive fires at the Nassau city dump off Tonique Williams-Darling Highway are a regular occurrence. They seem to happen every few months to varying degrees. If you google “dump fire in Bahamas” the search results will reveal many articles and pictures featuring the dump on fire over the past several years including this year.
The government just can’t seem to get it right. Meanwhile people are living in the vicinity of the dump being exposed to all manner of harmful chemicals in the air on a daily basis. To my knowledge there hasn’t been an air quality study done to determine if residents in the area are at risk of exposure to long-term health issues.
6. Unlawful Deaths in Police Custody
There are many anecdotal stories about the police beating criminals in custody. In fact, its one of the most frequent complaints of persons brought before the courts. And although most Bahamians joke about police interrogation tactics, we don’t expect persons to die in police custody. Except that’s exactly what happened to Aaron Rolle and Jamie Smith when they were detained in police custody in February 2013.
A pathologist report concluded that Aaron Rolle died from hemorrhaging and a ruptured intestine, caused by blunt force trauma to the chest. The Jury of the Coroner’s Inquest into the death determined that the death was an unlawful killing.
Despite this ruling the Attorney General as yet to press charges against the officers involved and I doubt specific recommendations about how police procedures should change have been implemented.
7. The Bank Of The Bahamas Fiasco
The Government was forced to bailout BOB to the tune of $100 million dollars because of dereliction of the fiduciary responsibilities of successive boards of the BOB and of that bank’s management. BOB which is 65% owned by the Government had somehow allowed 51% of its commercial loans portfolio to become non-performing and had posted loses in consecutive years.
But two years before the bailout which put Bahamians on the hook for $100 Million Dollars, The Governor of the Central Bank had raised the alarm on BOB. Here are some of the things the Governor highlighted as issues
- Imprudent credit approval decisions for certain” politically-exposed persons (PEPs) and related party transactions
- Bank of the Bahamas also failed to provide examiners with a full list of PEP and related party loans, and the Governor said such advances had already – and would continue – to result in credit write-offs to the tune of “millions of dollars”
- Bank of the Bahamas’ efforts to secure collateral from large, delinquent commercial borrowers were slammed as “selective and ineffective”
- Collateral for large commercial loans was deemed “inadequate and deficient”, often not being independently evaluated
These are just a few of the key findings revealed In a 2012 letter to the BOB Chairman and Board of Directors by the Governor of The Central Bank Of The Bahamas. Still no action was taken and 2 years later the Bank had to be bailed out at the expense of The Bahamian people.
It is obvious that the Bank was being used as a cash cow by politicians, their family, friends and lovers. Read more
8. The Bahamas Electricity Corporation
Its hard to decide where to begin with this company. There is just so much negative about it. I personally believe BEC is an albatross around the neck of the Bahamas. The scale of its inefficiency is astounding. Lets look at some of issues
Yearly Load shedding like clockwork, summer comes around, demand peaks and BEC begins load shedding. Whats messed up about it is they promise every year that they are prepared and there will be no more.
Salaries & Benefits, BEC employees are among the highest paid with the best benefit package in the Bahamas. Yet they still refuse to work shifts, preferring instead to stick to an inefficient work system that guarantees massive amounts of overtime.
Bribery Scandal a foreign company revealed that it had bribed a politically connected Board member via a consultant in order to win a contract. Interestingly, the foreign company sold generators that proved to be inefficient, breaking down regularly resulting in frequent power outages.
Island Wide Blackouts, unlike load shedding which affects certain areas, over the last few years BEC has been affected by several island wide outages that severally crippled the island. Businesses lost thousands of dollars and even hotels were affected
Cost of Electricity the biggest expense outside of a mortgage for home owners is the exorbitant cost of electricity mainly because the high fuel surcharge fee. This is increasing the cost of living for regular citizens directly because of the high bill and indirectly because of the burden it places on businesses which drives the cost of goods up.
It’s crazy that we have this highly inefficient organization basically strangling the country and we can’t seem to do anything to fix it. Bahamians should be out in droves protesting until the Government cleans up this company and put in a proper energy policy.
I knew BAMSI was a bad idea from the very start. Here’s what I wrote about it back in 2013 when it was first announced;
We can no longer afford to accept these half-assed, half-baked ideas from Bahamian politicians.
Don’t get me wrong, the agriculture school is a great idea, the fact that we need to become self sufficient is long overdue. But taking a good idea, wrapping it up in a poorly planned, poorly controlled project is how we’ve been wasting money for years.
Since then its been one controversy after another. BAMSI reveals what we already know; the Government can’t run a damn thing!
Here’s a question for you to consider, why do we need a BAMSI at all?
Why not simply invest expand the agricultural & science program at COB? Isn’t COB set to become a university, this program should be run out of COB so that it receives the proper management, direction and oversight it deserves.
But I think someone saw an opportunity to create another giant slush fund and once again we the people are footing the bill.
10. Take Your Pick
I could easily name another half dozen incidents that deserve a spot on this list, but I’m going to leave it up to you. Go ahead and mention something you think should be on this list, but isn’t, in the comments. It doesn’t have to be recent or even this administration.