Corruption is rampant in the Bahamas. This is something almost every citizen knows.
But it’s rare that government officials readily admit that it exists and go so far as to say that there is nothing that can be done about.
But that’s basically what member of parliament Leslie Miller did in a recent Tribune interview.
Is this An Admission of Government Corruption?
Asked about the government’s bidding process and several instances that have gone public where contracts were given to party supporters, Mr Miller said he viewed it as “political patronage” but not corruption….
Mr Miller added. “The Free National Movement is just as guilty as the PLP. The FNM gave millions upon millions in contracts to their supporters. It’s not fair and it’s not right but that’s what political parties do….
Mr Miller added: “You have to do what you have to do to retain those people’s confidence and retain their allegiance to you to make you win again – (there is) nothing wrong with it. It’s not fair but in the world in which we live it’s the norm and it’s going to continue. It will never ever stop and that is just the way it is.”…
While Mr. Miller only considers this political patronage, many Bahamians know this behavior is the basis of all that is wrong in Government and the Bahamas as a whole. Which is why we consider it corruption not ‘Just Patronage’.
V Alfred Gray Also Believes Political Patronage is OK
The Honorable V Alfred Gray, said something similar several months prior;
Gray defends BAMSI contract for former PLP minister | The Tribune
The Case For Patronage As Corruption
In the purest sense patronage is not corruption, it is simply support, encouragement, privilege and/or financial aid bestowed from one person to another. Nothing corrupt about that.
Which is how Leslie Miller and Alfred Gray would have you think about it. But lets look at the definition of four terms from Transparency.org and think about them in the context of The Bahamas and Mssrs. Miller and Gray’s statements.
Form of favoritism in which a person is selected, regardless of qualifications or entitlement, for a job or government benefit because of affiliations or connections.
Manipulation of policies, institutions and rules of procedure in the allocation of resources and financing by political decision makers, who abuse their position to sustain their power, status and wealth.
Everyday abuse of entrusted power by public officials in their interactions with ordinary citizens, who often are trying to access basic goods or services in places like hospitals, schools, police departments and other agencies.
The abuse of high-level power that benefits the few at the expense of the many, and causes serious and widespread harm to individuals and society. It often goes unpunished.
We can see clearly from Mr. Miller’s statements that political corruption is taking place as government officials use patronage to remain in power. This then leads to petty and grand corruption.
No To All Forms Of Corruption
What is most shocking and upsetting about Mr. Miller’s and Mr. Gray’s statements is how nonchalant they are about it. Not only do they admit to patronage/political corruption they have the gall to suggest that nothing can be done about it and that we should just accept it.
While corruption is widespread throughout society and very difficult to deal with, I expect government officials to at least try to combat it. And based on these statements I don’t get that from this PLP government. The problem is that we have accepted patronage and political corruption for so long that it is now in every facet of our society and slowly strangling our country.
We have to say no to all forms of corruption in Our Country and continue to demand transparency and accountability from our government whether that is PLP or FNM.