Since coming to office almost two short years ago, the PLP has consistently demonstrated that it is a government of law and order. Obviously, not everyone is going to agree with that but the proof of the pudding is in the eating as the fabled adage says. The last administration, under the guise of the Competent Authority Act, which conferred draconian powers on the then-Prime Minister and ‘selected’ cabinet cronies, left a bad taste in the mouths of tens of thousands of Bahamians.
Contracts were awarded like candy to countless unknown individuals and corporate entities. To this very day, despite the legal requirements that contracts were to be laid on the table of the House of Assembly every six weeks, nothing of the sort was ever done. As a trained lawyer, it is clear to me that the Competent Authority Act was observed more in the breach than in observance. There was absolutely no enforceable legal mechanism in place under that bogus and debilitating piece of legislation to curb the crushing and sweeping ‘authority’ of the Competent Authority.
The then administration and its allies sought to suggest that the cabinet comprised, collectively, the authority. Not so; It operated as a one-man band and was one of the main reasons why the now defunct FNM was ousted, unceremoniously, from high office. I am not suggesting that any criminal laws may have been breached but in the political arena, perception is often accepted as reality.
Serious allegations were made against several members and supporters of the Minnis-led administration, some of which to this very day are being played out in our judicial system. It is to be noted, however, that everyone is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty and I will let it remain at that for now.
For decades under all administrations hitherto before the ordained election of the Davis administration, arrears for real property taxes, NIB contributions and court-ordered fines and compensation were forgotten or overlooked. This was to the gross detriment of the taxpayers of this exceptional and peculiar nation depending on who you were or who you knew.
This is no longer the scenario. You are in arrears relative to legitimate governmental taxes, you are hauled before the appropriate enforcement agencies where appropriate regardless of who you are or who you think may know you.
It is a convention that people should not discuss or opine on matters which are sub judice or pending before judicial bodies. I fully agree with that. Comments, however, may be made generally. There were many Bahamians who were of the bogus view that there would have been no criminal charges brought against a sitting PLP member of Parliament due to political affiliation, especially when we observed the inordinate length of time, in my view, to have investigations completed. Well, the Davis administration, clearly. is one of law and order. The chips, so to speak, will fall where they may appears to be the mantra of the PM.
No reasonable Bahamian should ever gloat or rub it in when a fellow citizen may appear to have legal issues, especially of a criminal nature that could attract jail time. Law and order, however, must always be applied and seen to be applied across the board.
In this, as in all things, to God, that Great Lawgiver, be the glory.
Written by: Ortland Bodie