When governments change, the business of government must be seen as priority. A change in government can be used as an opportunity to help persons, but it should not be used as an opportunity to create mischief; the mischief of appointing persons beyond their competence in the name of the Party. Politicians must be held accountable for the lies they promote. The Party must not be put ahead of the country. The Public Purse must not be changed into a slush fund, because “it is our time now”. We speak of leadership and the need to help others, but this cannot happen at the expense of another Bahamian who is doing their job. Political leaders lie to themselves as they go about this business of “helping”. It is like they only want to help those who have a blind allegiance to them and God help the rest; forgetting that they were elected to lead all who are in the nation, even if they did not vote for them.
Can we be about the business of leading and not political pandering? Can we fulfil our God-ordained obligation to all of the Bahamians that we say we believe in? Or is it going to be easier to continue the lies that do nothing to repair the fractures inflicted to the social fabric, because of our political expediencies?
A nation so small cannot afford to have these hiccups caused through re-assigning and re-appointments. If they are needed no problem. If the person coming in is known to be the better choice, no problem. But anything else cannot be afforded and is not needed, in a time when the machinery of government must be seen as a priority, even to those who lead.
It has now become something of a badge of honor to be a pragmatist, especially in public policy matters. Being pragmatic means promoting policies that work, being practical or even expedient.
President Obama has often made mention of his own pragmatism. So have some of his most avid supporters, such as Paul Krugman and Cass Sunstein. But not only those favoring the substantially Keynesian approach to macroeconomic policies swear allegiance to pragmatism. The very prominent jurist Richard Posner, of the University of Chicago School of Law, one of the most prolific and widely respected public philosophers in our time, has been unabashed about his championing of pragmatism.
"...The only thing that counts is who has the power, a very convenient point of view for those who like to lord it over others without having to be accountable for what they do."
So what makes someone a pragmatist? In these contexts, pragmatic suggests mainly an attitude of realism and flexibility, lack of firm principles or foundations--i.e., eschewing dogmatism or ideology--on which one’s policy recommendations are based. Here is a good sample of the pragmatic approach:
by Tibor R. Machan http://tibormachan.rationalreview.com/
A few weeks ago I wrote in one of my columns as follows:
“...[T]he discussion of President Obama’s federal policy requiring that everyone obtain health insurance has frequently focused on the fact that either an employer or individual would be forced to obtain private health insurance instead of, as Wikipedia points it out, ‘or in addition to the institution of a national health service of insurance’. And many have suggested that this is a very unusual measure since it mandates specific performance from citizens, contrary to the legal tradition of the country. One may be forced to give up property but never to carry out a task, something that is reminiscent of slavery or involuntary servitude and thus directly in conflict with the idea of a free society....”
The court ruled in favor of Mr. Obama’s individual mandate on June 28, 2012, by rejecting the idea that it amounted to forcing citizens to purchase something they don’t choose to purchase and held, instead, that it is indeed a federal requirement “to give up property” (or to tax the citizens) which the federal government may impose to its heart’s content.
It is just this power by government that needs now to be challenged since it extend the feudal legacy of extorting people’s resources. The extortion goes as follows: “You get to live in this supposedly free country only if you pay government--previously the monarch--funds demanded from you!” This amounts to the constitutional power to tax!
The following piece is a slighly amended version of those that appeared in the Nassau Guardian and The Tribune and is posted here with Mr. Turnquests kind permission.
Comments attributed to the minister of foreign affairs on the conduct of unmanned surveillance over The Bahamas are woefully uninformed and reflect a Cabinet minister seemingly ignorant of his role and responsibilities and attempting to feed the irrational xenophobia so often promoted by segments of the present government to obscure their ineptitude and to “whip up” anti-foreign sentiments among our people.
Bilateral anti-criminal and specifically anti-drug and anti-human trafficking initiatives between our government and law-enforcement agencies with those of the United States of America government have a long and respected history. These are joint and or approved surveillance programs and not “spying”, which would suggest unauthorized, and hence illegal, surveillance.
Particularly since the 1980s and the introduction of “Hot Pursuit” initiatives which placed Bahamian law enforcement personnel on U.S. Department of Defense and or U.S. Coast Guard vessels and craft to facilitate the interdiction and detention of criminals operating in and through The Bahamas, cooperation between our two countries has been critical to Bahamian anti-criminal initiatives, especially as regards countering the impact of sophisticated trans-national criminal organizations.
Even before that time the U.S. government had established a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) presence in The Bahamas. And the formalization of the Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) anti-drug initiative resulted in the stationing of DEA agents and helicopters in both New Providence and Exuma. Today, millions of dollars are being invested by the U.S. government in constructing improved facilities for joint U.S. and Bahamas defence force operations in Inagua.
And, as you may or may not be aware, The Bahamas government maintains a Bahamian police officer and a customs officer presence in its Miami consulate general and an immigration officer or defence force officer presence in its embassy in Haiti. None of this is done secretly or covertly but rather with the full knowledge of the host governments, although I do not think that these initiatives were the subject of public announcements to the Florida or Haitian public.
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We should have had some indication by now that the elected leader of our country is serious about the May 7th, mandate he has received from the “voting majority” in this country, but as he approaches his 100 day marker, it is apparent that the warning given by the outgoing Prime Minister must to be heeded. If there is one fault our current Prime Minister has, it is the tendency to say what will appease the audience that is before him. He says it passionately, and to listen to him you know that he means well, but he seems to be out of touch with what governments can do for the “poor and hurting”. This weekend, he has promised the North Andros constituency, that if he has to choose between spending the last dollar on roads and helping the poor, he will not be spending money on roads. Having spent some time in Andros, I see it differently. The people in Andros do not need the kind of help that Mr.Christie feels he should giving, the people in Andros that I know are able to fend for themselves; one of the problems they do not need is a growing dependency on patrimony that is steeped in political expediency. I think they would prefer the roads, the arguments in Nassau cannot be imported into Andros when you begin to talk about infrastructure.
He should study the history of South Andros. We do not talk about it, but the empirical data suggests that even his mentor did not do what he could have done for that constituency. When a comparison is made between Prime Ministers and their constituencies it seems that at least two of them have left their constituencies in the same way that they met them.
We have talked about Mr.Christie and the legacy issue that confronts him. If he is going to trouble the waters it would be better if he took a page out of the book of his former law partner and do what leaders do. If he is being led by his party, it is unlikely that his administration will be able to fulfil its term; there are only so many promises a leader can make. There are enough capable leaders in the PLP to make the correct choices that will result in “long term” problem solving, but his tendency of telling people what they want to hear will eventually cause his party to fracture, regardless of his good intentions. There is a country that he is elected to lead, but it seems that his remarks in 2011 about putting PLP’s at the front of the line will create, even within the party itself, more problems than he or his administration will be able to solve.