Friday, March 18, 2011

We Bahamians are an ungrateful people

While the world suffers, Bahamians fiddle

tribune242 editorial

WE SWITCHED the television on. Saudi tanks were rolling into Bahrain to prevent that country's social unrest spilling over Saudi borders. Libyans were rushing in mad confusion to avoid tear gas hoses as the Arab League considered asking the UN to impose a no fly zone to stop Col. Muammar Gaddafi strafing his people from the air - a reporter described Libya's turmoil of cruelty as a "problem from hell." Egypt was still in confusion. In short the Middle East was on fire.

Suddenly, television cameras focused on Japan. There one saw a scene of absolute horror. Viewers were told that Japan had just suffered an 8.9 earthquake, the largest in its history, and the fifth largest recorded in this past century. Then as though an invisible giant had drawn in his breath, taking the ocean with it and leaving behind a denuded coastline, there was a powerful outward roar as a mountain of water rushed back across the land. Out of the earthquake, a giant tsunami had been born and in a twinkling of an eye an ancient town had disappeared from the face of the earth. Houses crumbled under its mighty weight, thousands of men, women and children disappeared before they had time to consider what they could do to save themselves.

What we were witnessing would affect the whole world and an already crippled international economy was pushed back just as it was starting to slowly move forward. As a result of the confusion in one section of the world every man, woman and child on the rest of the globe was caught up in the turmoil. If never before, that short sequence of events was proof that we are all one family caught up in each other's destiny on this one big ship called Mother Earth. As gas prices started to climb -- as a result of the Mid-East crisis --and goods, already too expensive, soared, one wondered if indeed Armageddon was near. At least that was what our maid thought.

"Oh, dear God," she moaned, "the world is in confusion!"

Suddenly she turned angry. "We Bahamians," she said, "are an ungrateful people. See how the world is suffering and we have the nerve to complain about a little inconvenience." Yes, when one compares Bahamians' problems against the suffering of other humans on the same planet, they are indeed "little inconveniences" and we should all hang our heads in shame for trying to make the mole hill into the mountain.

Here we have politicians busy trying to score brownie points against their opponents, not for the betterment of the body politic, but to gain a seat in parliament and to win an election.

While Japanese dug through rubble looking for loved ones, occasionally picking up an empty shoe and weeping for the loss of the human who once walked this Earth in it, Bahamians were squabbling over the sale of a telecommunications company that ill performed at the best of times and should have been put on the auction block a long time ago.

"Bahamians are just too selfish and too greedy, always with their hands out instead of trying to do the best they can with what they have until things get better!" she sniffed, with the toss of her head and the suck on the teeth. "They have gold by comparison and they don't appreciate it!"

While others suffer untold damage, some Bahamians are busy trying to organise their own "small Egypt" -- like the monkey wanting to follow fashion no matter how destructive that fashion.

Today Bahamians are busy trying to figure out how many FNM MPs would have to vote in the House against its government's sale of BTC to send the people back to the polls. As Mr Ingraham told them in today's Tribune, a majority vote against the sale of BTC to Cable & Wireless would be a parliamentary show of no confidence in his government. He would then turn the government back to the people; there would be an early general election, and Bahamians could then vote in a new government. However, he pointed out, the sale of BTC was one of the planks in the FNM's platform, one on which the FNM had won the government.

However, with 24 FNM members in the House to the PLP's 17, Brad McCartney is the only likely FNM to break ranks. This will in no way put the FNM's government in jeopardy. However, Mr McCartney has kept everyone guessing about his final decision of whether it will be an "aye" or "nay" for the BTC vote. The fact that, although he attends House meetings, he has avoided party meetings for many weeks, gives a pretty good indication as to how his mind is set.

Anyway, instead of losing precious time over such matters, Bahamians should thank God that they have a job. It is now up to them to give it their best until they can start climbing the ladder upward again.

March 17, 2011

tribune242 editorial