The very essence of the PLP’s deep-seated and arrogant sense of entitlement may be seen in Lady Pindling’s dismissive and contemptible attitude toward paying property taxes.
She has received large sums of money from the state in the form of a lump sum payment of close to half a million dollars as a part of her husband’s pension. She now receives a generous yearly pension. She has received more than a million dollars in pension since her husband’s death.
Were she to become Governor General she would have both the pension and the salary of Governor General and after demitting office she would have two lucrative pensions.
As Governor General she would enjoy the comforts of Government House, first class travel and live mostly at the expense of the state and taxpayers.
And yet, despite a sizeable pension and desiring the comforts associated with being head of state she somehow found it acceptable to have owed the state approximately $300,000 in property taxes.
The message to taxpayers: Afford me an extraordinary level of comfort though I’m not prepared to pay my fair share of taxes.
It is Sir Lynden and his imperial court which created the PLP’s sense and culture of entitlement. So pernicious is this sense that some deem that it should not be questioned.
This was exemplified by the astoundingly ridiculous comments of PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts after Lady Pindling’s tax bill became public. Had this bill been applicable to an FNM in a similar position one may be assured that Mr. Roberts himself would have helped to lead an attack on that individual and given his penchant it may have been vicious.
As a potential head of state Lady Pindling is open to scrutiny. In many other countries she would have been disqualified from serving as head of state because of her attitude toward paying her tax bill.
Prime Minister Perry Christie should not proceed with recommending her appointment. Thus far in his administration he has presided over a decline in public standards.
In the interest of decency and the good name of the state a possible candidate in another country would have withdrawn from consideration as head of state. But in the culture of entitlement that is the PLP, the country’s good name is of considerably less significance than the self-interest of the party and its demigods.
As it stands, and unlike any appointee thus far, Lady Pindling’s possible ascent to Mt. Fitzwilliam is already mired in controversy because of the outstanding bill which was near miraculously paid in haste.
A reasonable question that would arise in other countries is that of how the bill was paid. Moreover, if it could be paid this quickly, why wasn’t it paid before?
The head of state should be beyond reproach in such matters. The years of non-payment and now rushed payment does not make us look good in the international arena.
The sense of entitlement by the Pindling court is often manifested in the attitude of look at how much we did for this country, as if public service entitles one to getting away with all manner of conduct, much of which was detailed in a commission inquiry, the details of which will certainly resurface if Lady Pindling becomes Governor General, all of which will be a further embarrassment to the country.
The Pindlings did give service. But they were rewarded quite handsomely and for a quarter of a century, despite all manner of excesses by the Pindling court. Today, Sir Lynden is on the one dollar note. Our main international airport is named after him. Lady Pindling has been knighted in her own right.
The country remembers also the victimization and unfettered corruption of the Pindling era, especially during the scourge of the drug years when the country sank to new lows from which we have yet to recover. Yet there has never really been an apology for this era, a period of truth and reconciliation for the great harm did to the country.
With all of the excess, many Bahamians find cloying this attitude of what the country owes to the Pindlings.
The recent revelation that the Pindling Foundation accepted a prize of a BMW from a numbers house suggests a comfort level with accepting donations from illegal enterprises. It is yet another example of how our standards continue to decline.
The troubling excuse for having accepted the donation is that a precedent had been set by another group that accepted such a donation. It is a curious ethical position. What about following the precedent of those who have not accepted such donations?
That others may have done what is wrong does not make it right or excusable for one to engage in the same conduct. There are all manner of precedents for illegality, which does not mean that one should follow suit.
Just because many people don’t pay their property taxes or are willing to accept donations from various enterprises does not make any of this conduct acceptable.
It is an adolescent morality which says excuse me for the wrong I do because other people are doing the same thing. This is the adolescent mindset often advanced by Labour Minister Shane Gibson: Don’t mind what we do in the PLP, because others do the same thing.
Despite what is often a false equivalence by Gibson and a question of degree, no matter which side engages in certain conduct, if it is against the law it is not excusable.
Around the same time as the revelation emerged about Lady Pindling’s non-payment of property taxes over the course of more than a decade, BEC Chairman Leslie Miller’s quarter of a million dollar electricity bill came to light.
Again the culture of entitlement and double standards arose. It is a pattern in the PLP from the VAT Coordinator Ishmael Lightbourne to Miller. The very individual charged with seeking to maintain certain standards is found to have ignored those standards in their own conduct even while telling the rest of us to pay our taxes and our electricity bills.
And of course in the PLP’s culture of slackness they were able to keep their jobs. In the end the fault is with Christie, who is the latest emperor reigning over the PLP’s sense of entitlement and double standards.
To deflect from his non-payment and that of Lady Pindling, Miller claimed that the media is attacking black people. It is a laughable and sad excuse. Were they also attacking him for being black when he claimed to have violently battered a woman?
A part of Miller’s bill was quickly paid off in an unusual manner. He claimed to have paid by cashier’s check though this journal reported that may not have been the case. If the payment was made in cash he has misled the public and the prime minister, which would be yet another reason for his dismissal.
But Christie is unlikely to fire Miller for the same reason he refused to comment on Miller’s statement on abusing a former girlfriend. Christie is simply afraid of Miller.
In the end, Christie is the problem. He has allowed standards to decline, precipitously. In a break with past budgets he presented a budget missing in critical details. He allowed the operation of the National Intelligence Agency though it had no legal footing.
He appointed and maintained a VAT Coordinator delinquent in paying a huge tax bill. He remained silent as Miller joked about domestic abuse. He is likely to appoint someone as Governor General whom many, including many in his party, do not believe for good reason should be head of state.
Revenue collection by the state is undermined when those in authority do not pay their fair share. We now have a situation in which the VAT Coordinator, the Chairman of BEC, possibly various cabinet ministers and the potential head of state exhibited a cavalier attitude towards paying various bills.
All of which is the essence of the PLP’s culture of entitlement, in which the rest of us are expected to pay our bills, while some at the very top continue to be rewarded with high salaries and high-level appointments paid for by those who pay their taxes and electricity bills.