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October 10, 2006


EB Christen

Sir Foulkes:

Brilliant point about the vibrancy of the vote in the Bahamas - it is something that many take for granted. It is a great thing and I love my purple thumb on election day.

Having said that, the problem in the country right now centres on the fact that when the (necessarily good) leadership is not prepared to call the bad and the ugly amongst its ranks into check, then trust and faith in the the politicians and the political process erodes. This was the situation of the Bahamas in the not too distant past. Edmund Burke, in the 18th century, famously said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." I think the inaction of our Prime Minister is precisely such a failing, and, if left unchecked, will continue to erode the limited transparency and accountability that currently exists in Bahamian politics.

Also, many allow for the current failure of accountability in our democracy by pointing out that the United States is currently not much better off. This view is terribly flawed and should be battled vociferously. We are small, but because of that we should be dynamic, transparent proactive and highly adaptable - not reactive and regressive.

Keep up the great work.

Arthur Foulkes

Mr. Christen

Amen to that, and thanks.


Rick Lowe

Good stuff Sir Arthur:
I beg to differ on a couple points however.
All car salemen, lawyers etc as you say are not alike, and neither are politicans. On this I can agree, but they are all tarred with the same brush in conversation and in the written word. There is a not so subtle difference with Politicians however. Politicians - or more clearly defined - Members of Parliament.
I bet that the overwhelming majority of bills/acts that are presented to Parliament are supported by the vast majority of MP's if not all of them.
In fact, you are forced to vote in favour of legislation or the party's position most of the time. In other words, you cannot vote your conscience.
Another point comes to mind - the financial reporting requirements of the Constitution and other legislation is ignored year after year by politicians.
Consider the personal asset reporting requirements. Isn't this ignored by every single MP?
You see, from my vantage point, politicians want all citizen's to be fair and transparent, but do not hold themselves to the same standard.
Why am I wrong?

EB Christen

A Freedom of Information Act that would force government accountability and transparency - especially with 'perk' expenses like cell phone minute use and gas consumption - would be ideal. That would only be the tip of the iceberg, but that level of transparency is precisely what is needed now. I think that the Bahamian citizen would be dumbfounded if they were to discover the amount of 'wastage' of taxpayer dollars that goes into lifestyle perks. A developing country shouldn't be helping its politicians to develop - they are supposed to be helping to develop the country.

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