Opposition says pride should not blind Minnis from common good
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Calling for more unifying leadership, Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis accused Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis of falling short of standards from a head of state during times of crisis.
He condemned the conduct of the prime minister during his wrap up on debate of the Disaster Preparedness and Response (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on Tuesday.
Davis said: “I continually remind him that he is the prime minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. He is my prime minister though I am politically opposite.
“He is the prime minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and I go further to add that he is my member of Parliament. I continue to remind him of that and so, he needs to lead and set the pace. These are times when the common good has to reign supreme, for the things he does and the things he says, and how he makes others feel is important at this time to ensure that he brings us as a people together.”
Davis said: “He should be pursuing the things that make for peace and as he said to build up the common good. That’s what a leader in this time is called for.”
Throughout his contribution, the prime minister repeatedly referred to the PLP, juxtaposing his administration’s governance pre and post-Hurricane Dorian to the former government as he pledged the Free National Movement will be accountable with storm funds, and make decisions that ensure The Bahamas recovers.
He said the Bahamian people still do not trust the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) after its last term in office.
Minnis also lashed the opposition for not supporting a resolution for a $100 million contingency loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in April for the purpose of financing a Natural Disaster Emergencies Programme.
He also characterized a recent tour Davis made in Pinewood Gardens as “publicity stunt”, suggesting the opposition was seeking to gain political points instead of assisting in the recovery effort.
Yesterday, Ragged Island and Exumas MP Chester Cooper underscored no amount of “theatrics” could distract from the Minnis administration’s failure to provide the public, specifically storm victims, with a plan for the way forward.
Davis acknowledged there will be political exchanges, differences of views and “barbs here and there”, but he said the prime minister should not allow pride and an inability take constructive criticisms to “blind us from that common good”.
“We heard the prime minister yesterday and I share the view that he fell below the standards in his contribution as what ought to have been expected in these times,” the PLP leader said.
“The country saw it. What about me, as he said going into Pinewood Gardens and mischaracterizing it. I am not going to get into ‘what about the drug era’. What does that have to do with and why does he have to at this stage, in these times be a divider as opposed to saying things that ought to be uniting us?”
Davis said he reached out to the prime minister personally and indicated to him that the opposition has not opposed any effort to bring back normalcy to the nation.
“In all of my utterances I have recognized the challenge that we face,” he said.
“I’ve recognized that not any one of us has all the answers, and not any one of us will be able to get it done. It’s going to take our collective strengths, our collective ingenuity, creativity and innovation to get us back to where we are and we are going to need more than that too and I continue to tell him that.”
Davis insisted the opposition is prepared to lend its hand.
The PLP leader maintained yesterday the amendments to the Disaster Preparedness and Response Act is a public relations exercise, insisting that provisions to temporarily infringe on citizens’ civil liberties already exist in the constitution.
The bill, which was passed in the House yesterday afternoon, would give the prime minister the authority to declare mandatory evacuations of a specific area, island or cay.
Failure to evacuate would be considered an offense liable upon conviction to a term of one month imprisonment and/or fine not exceeding $500.
The opposition voted against the bill.