Lawlessness In The Bahamas

Tuesday 02nd, July 2013 / 07:56 Published by

The apparent lawlessness that Bahamians fear is destabilizing their country has its roots in a much more obvious place than Kemp Road, Nassau Village or Bain Town.

According to the politicians, crime is down. However, lawlessness is up. Murders and rapes are down as are robberies and other assaults. Really?

Perhaps we need to revisit the Truman Show and see how it is to live in an image-controlled world.

Over the last few weeks, a number of tragedies have occurred in paradise, yet people seem to be turning a deaf ear and blind eye to them.

The old adage, hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil, does not apply in this case.

It is about speaking out against what is so obviously and ghastly wrong in the country.

When tourists get killed for coming to someone’s aid, it is a problem.

However, when locals get killed by the dozens, there is no problem.

Surely, if one runs a department in paradise even that kind of murder is a problem.

Yet, it is not a problem, according to some.

The country features highly everywhere that is bad – crime reports, violence reports, the human development index is slipping, yet we are rapidly attaining first world status.

The government acts with absolute impunity. They see nothing wrong with their ‘minor indiscretions’ but complain when the people for whom they are meant to be setting the example ‘misbehave.’

Governments lead countries from the front.

Yet these guys have been doing anything but leading by example, unless their behavior is meant to be an example they want to be followed.

In this case, they have led well. The country has also followed well.

Bad Examples

Coming off the back of Father’s Day, and all the banter on leading by example, is it not ironic that there should be such flagrant examples of lawlessness in the great House?

Leaders of government have shown the country that they can do anything they want, they can act in disregard of the laws, they can work in conflict of interest, and they can write letters to the press criticizing members of the public who bring money into the country that they are apparently leading, on behalf of another member of the public.

In which capacity does one do this letter writing, in a private or a public capacity? And, if it is in a private capacity, how can it be done while serving the public?

Once a member of government, every action one takes is a public matter.

In other parliamentary democracies to act in such a way would result in termination by the leader of the party, but not here.

Lawlessness is encouraged. Still we are aghast when people run red lights blatantly or shoot bystanders unabashedly.

Even worse, the job said member of government is doing ultimately works against the public interest.

The same public said member is meant to be serving the same public that pays the member’s salary.

How can this be? Pit bulls, when mistreated, are dangerous and often are put down when they attack. Yet bulldog behavior and pit bull like attacks are celebrated.

Sadly, as the country lunges into gender equality and talks about gender-based violence and the problems with the youth, as well as the ways we treat women, do we not see that all government models are gender inequality?

We show the youth and anyone who cares to watch that it is fine to disregard women; better, we say that it is great to ignore their humanity, as they, as Mr. Strachan pointed out in his letter to the editor as having been said in the great House, are the ‘weaker sex’.

Who are they weaker than? Who establishes their weakness?

The tragic cultural stereotype that such discourse establishes can only hold part blame for the lack of success of any gender equality bills in the country.

Women’s inactivity and silence must hold the other part.

Inequality

In my opinion, it is worse than a travesty when a public figure in his capacity as a public figure, acting in public, can indulge in sexual harassment and then use slanderous language and debase another member of the House.

Yet nothing is said. Mum’s the word! Only, mum cannot be the word. What this public act has done is show the blatant sexism and rife inequality in the government.

Yet they expect different from the citizenry? Do they seriously expect the international community to take them or the country seriously?

Shame! It is obvious that the country endorses gender-based violence.

It is also obvious that the country not only tolerates but promotes gender inequality.

When members of government in the highest positions in the country can claim that women are less than men and not be sanctioned and, worse, their female counterparts look on and smile, it says that we agree with their behavior.

The women are also to blame. So, when men hold guns to their girlfriends’ heads to stop them from leaving them, or worse rape and then kill them because they cannot tolerate them being equal in their right to choose, to live, to breathe as humans, we should not be surprised.

They are only modelling what they see, what government has demonstrated.

Government has become a ‘pappy show’ of good governance.

They are a Shakespearian tragic-comedy of gender-biased, bad-boy rudeness and lawless behavior.

Sadly, it is not so well acted or clever. It must also be noted that some of the most outrageous crimes have occurred in the last year, yet they have said naught.

Ministers have commented on male prostitution as a problem when discussing murders.

Please explain the link. Further, why air the country’s dirty laundry so publicly? Has all decorum been lost?

Tragically, all of this has been viewed by the international community, a world to which we belong, believe it or not.

We want them to visit us, to spend money here, yet we tell them with our actions, words and inactions that we do not care if you come.

In fact, when you bite the hand that feeds you, it funnily enough stops feeding you.

Where We Are

The country is lawless and a hotbed of gender-based violence, gender inequality and misogyny.

Where are the women who are so empowered? Where are the women in government except for the woman who was reportedly harassed in public and acted in her own defense?

Not one of the other women has said a word. Not only does this mean that they are unconcerned about their own inequality, but it says that they support the inferiority of women and that they further patriarchy and male superiority.

Is there any wonder why marital rape is celebrated and the bill was not supported by women?

This has become a paradise where tourists do not want to come.

The U.S. State Department has recommended that Americans not travel to The Bahamas.

When we sit on planes in other regions potential tourists comment that they will not travel here because of The Bahamas’ gender problems, gender-based violence, intolerance and homophobia, all gloriously enacted on the stage of the great House.

The tragedy of earthly greatness is apparently lost on the government.

What is calamitous is that the government cannot see the disaster it is creating, and there is no true leadership.

How does the attorney general set her face when she goes to the United Nations as a representative of a government that unabashedly supports gender inequality?

Rude boy behavior and pit bull attacks are rampant and memorialized.

The government’s leadership is modelling all the behavior that we deplore on the streets. Kemp Road, Nassau Village or Bain Town are only copying what they have seen.

The tragedy is that this is paradise, but for how much longer?

By Ian Bethell-Bennett

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