LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Icons & Relevancy

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Icons & Relevancy

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — It is a sad phenomenon to see how many iconic Bahamians, living and dead, would have either voluntarily removed themselves from frontline politics, either voluntarily or by a natural death, and still seek to have a meaningful role in the administration of the nation. A recent case in point is where a former Minister of Immigration under the late great and almost irreplaceable Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling, Loftus Archibald Roker, castigated the current administration of Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, as ‘leaderless’. 

I believe that his remarks were generated by the events surrounding Keith Bell (PLP-Carmichael), Minister of Immigration & Labor in the execution of his portfolio. As a citizen, Mr. Roker is fully entitled to his views. In so expressing them, however, it is incumbent that all of us do so in a coherent and sensible manner. 

Where is the evidence that the Davis administration knew of the events, in advance, that are alleged to have occurred on Minister Bell’s watch? There is no way that the PM could have or would have known that Bell was going to administer the oath of citizenship while attending a funeral. The ‘release’ of several Chinese nationals who were detained by the Department of Immigration could not have been known in advance by the PM. It is beyond the political pale for any Prime Minister de jure to ‘know’ in advance what could or might be done by any minister at any given time. This applies to Mr. Davis. 

Whatever is admitted or alleged to have been done by Minister Bell are all totally legal and within his permit. Full stop. It is clear, however, that the optics do not look too good. I am certain that the PM will look into all of the matters therein and put in place protocols to ensure that there are no further incidences of a similar nature going forward. 

When Roker held sway and relevancy politically, he blared out that ‘corruption was rocking the PLP to it’s foundation’ without ever publicly producing any evidence. Neither did he, to my knowledge, ever resign from cabinet. He did develop a reputation for being tough on immigration matters but what did it accomplish in the long run? 

He has had his time and opportunity to effect and implement policy. His chances at becoming leader of the PLP were never credible much less serious. Now, in the midst of an immigration / migration crisis he is able to fix his mouth to suggest that The Bahamas ‘lacks’ leadership? Had he and others been effective we might not now be going through this debate and expending precious parliamentary time on what might now be a non-issue, in my opinion. 

Yes, while most living Bahamians remember Mr. Roker with a degree of respect, he was never, in my view, a people’s person. Brave on the other hand has ascended to the top of the leadership totem pole. The other phenomenon is to witness the hard work which living icons expend to remain relevant. Brave is the epitome of good and solid leadership. Is Roker seeking to remain relevant and/ or the PM’s attention? 

Written by: Ortland H. Bodie Jr, business consultant and talk show host