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May 10, 2007

Comments

sdjosey

Thanks once again for insightful commentary which captures the essence of the Bahamian experience. We have grown up! I do wish that people would stop declaring that we voted for a strong opposition. If the majority of the Bahamian people voted for a strong opposition what they would in fact get is a strong governing party. Our results demonstrate the ability of the Bahamian people to critically analyze our landscape and make a decision.
At a time when the Bahamian people have demonstrated their wisdom and political acumen some politicians seem ill prepared to credit them or listen to the “voice of God” however quietly he speaks. The people are in charge again. We will send out report cards in five years. In the intervening time the government of the day will do well to observe their interim report as finals are coming and will determine if they graduate.

Kyle Baley

A slim majority/minority government does indeed keep politicians in check. But one could also argue it keeps them from introducing any necessary sweeping reforms for fear that they will be defeated. Having said that, I too prefer a government that has to work with its opposition instead of steamrolling over it. This is more pronounced when there are more than two parties (as in Canada where the current and previous governments were both minorities).

nicob

Re the sweeping reforms -- yes, this is a problem. The other potential problem is so-called tribalism, where the opposition opposes just because it can, out of sour grapes, and so on. I would not favour such activity in the least; sadly, though, the current salvos over the broadcast media suggests that we might be in for a bit of that.

I'd encourage Bahamian voters to keep track of all their representatives for the purpose of keeping them on track. Unlike larger countries, we have the luxury of meeting our MPs in the street and telling them what we think. Perhaps we should make a habit of this for a while.

Poor MPs.

larry smith

Point of order - Ingraham and Christie were both fired from the Cabinet in 1984.

Ingraham was expelled from the PLP in 1985 for his principled stand against corruption.

Both ran in the 1987 general election as indepedents and both retained their seats.

In 1990 Christie returned to the PLP while Ingraham joined the FNM

nicob

The point is that both leaders who contested the last election were formed in the crucible of the 20th century PLP, and groomed by Lynden Pindling -- arguably one of the greatest politicians of the late twentieth century Caribbean. Christie's charm and personal touch are modelled on Pindling's, and Ingraham's ruthless streak is equally influenced by his mentor. By focussing so tightly on leaders and leadership styles we miss the point -- that we still have a country to run, and challenges in the twenty-first century that cannot be met by the plans or philosophies of either party as they have presented them.

The political campaign ran on negatives, which to my mind is a fundamentally destructive thing to do in a nation that hasn't finished growing, and that has yet to have its infrastructure fastened in place. A plague a both their houses, I say.

But the electorate rejected the divisive nature of their so-called "leaders" - pah - and did something unusual. Now we have to capitalize on that balance, and see whether we can overcome our tribalism -- I use the word advisedly, because it's a visceral reaction in many cases that repudiates most of what's sensible -- and make sure that the double-cabinet House works for us, rather than against one another.

The key to that? Responsible commentary, rather than vituperative attack of one side or the other.

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