Dr. Percentie's Response To Chairman Rigby's Ridiculous Allegations
Chairman Rigby has accused me of not checking the facts or telling "half truths or bogus lies." This is a common political defense when one is trying to divert attention from the message.
I was most amused on June 4th 2003 when I was the subject of an editorial letter in the Nassau Tribune written by Raynard Rigby, Chairman of the PLP. Under the heading "Chairman Rigby Responds To Malicious Writing" in reference to a previous letter written by me, rating the performance of the PLP government's first year in office. By the content of his letter, Chairman Rigby proves my point of the outright deceptive practices of him and his PLP government. Making general and broad statement without the requisite factual support is the trademark of the PLP. This is what is referred too as "verbal diarrhea!"
Chairman Rigby has accused me of not checking the facts or telling "half truths or bogus lies." This is a common political defense when one is trying to divert attention from the message and an effort to discredit the messenger. Obviously, Chairman Rigby doesn't know who I am otherwise I seriously doubt that he would have writtten such a letter. Right from the start Chairman Rigby's lack of knowledge was obvious when he did not even get my gender right. But in all fairness, Chairman Rigby, please allow me to introduce myself. I have been submitting articles of public interest almost on a weekly basis for the past twenty years. For most of that time, I have maintained a massive collection of virtually every newspaper printed in the Bahamas. Therefore, whenever persons like Chairman Rigby or other politicians conveniently have a temporary or transient bout of amnesia on what they had said on a previous occasions I simply often remind them that in another environment they had presented a different point of view. Maliciousness is certainly not my intent, but at times the integrity of those making contradictory statements come into question.
Currently I hold no executive position with any political party nor do I have any political ambition. My objective is only to ensure good governance and to hold those in public office accountable. Chairman Rigby, on the other hand, has stated that he has a mandate to ensure that the "FNM never see the seat of government again!" Clearly, he is a hatchet man with a committed agenda to achieve his goals by any means necessary. Even his election as Chairman of PLP was controversial as his opponent denounced the process by which he attained his Chairmanship as he said it was "undemocratic." With such questionable beginning, the Bahamian public can expect anything from Chairman Rigby. Chairman Rigby has indicated that he declined the offer of chairmanship of the Broadcasting Regulatory Authority. That was certainly the appropriate thing to do. However, shouldn't those who were appointing him be aware of a possible conflict of interest? Did Chairman Rigby publicly decline this position? There are concerned Bahamians who believe in the Constitution of the Bahamas that preserves the freedom of speech. Like the Israeli Jews after the Nazi holocaust whose attitude is "NEVER AGAIN", never again will we sit idly by and allow the Broadcasting Corporation to become a tool or symbol of PLP oppression or propaganda as it was under the previous PLP administration.
With respect to the halting of the education loan that left hundreds of dedicated students stranded, Chairman Rigby must understand that when the PLP came to power, they inherited not just the assets but the liabilities left behind by the previous FNM administration. How on Earth after denying these students assistance can we then turn around and have no difficulty forgiving tens of millions of dollars to those with ways and means? This is especially hypocritical as the PLP came to power on the promise of helping the little man with help and hope. Regrettably under the new PLP the little man is still helpless and without hope. Many now who had supported the PLP during the Campaign 2002 are openly regretting their support of the PLP. How can we give tax breaks when basic contractual obligations such civil servants salaries cannot be honored?
Chairman Rigby has at least credited me with partially recognizing the truth. On the other hand his presentation has been accused of being "void of truth and substance". Just look at the Chairman's Diary in the PLP New Times, May 2003 Edition. His editorial featured nothing but rhetoric, misleading and deceiving statements, some of which I seriously doubt that as a reasonable and professional individual he would believe himself. How can he expect others to believe him? He claims that the FNM left the economy in shambles but even today, despite the fact that the PLP government constantly refers to the negative impact of 9/11 as an explanation for their lack of activity. Also, for Mr. Rigby to suggest that Hubert Ingraham and the FNM crippled the economy of the Family Island is nothing but a creation of his imagination. In fact to the contrary, by providing the proper infrastructure such as roads, electricity, etc, many family island communities were given a second chance under the FNM.
Other legislation in Chairman Rigby's column identified as being wrong included inter alia The Referendum. One proposal of the referendum was to end the evil discrimination against Bahamian women with foreign spouses and children of such a union. Chairman Rigby should have educated himself with facts beginning with the D'arcy Ryan case in 1977 and the scores of family tragedies featured in the various medias since then, negatively affecting hundreds if not thousands of Bahamian families. This inequality in modern times is archaic and it will only serve to frustrate, create suffering, and all too often the break up of families. No caring government will allow this but with the PLP anything is possible. History will show that approval of the provisions in the referendum was the right thing to do.
His reference to the Inheritance Act as being wrong is most ridiculous as to up to 70 % of persons being born in the Bahamas are born out of wedlock. Chairman Rigby does not believe that the majority of Bahamians deserve statutory protection in the event of the demise of a parent. Chairman Rigby how can the Employment Act be wrong when it addressed areas in employee/employer relation that was neglected for decades. Basic concepts such as minimum wage or safety in the work place were non-existent. Indeed bargaining agents are now most grateful that severance, vacation, etc. has now been defined. Chairman Rigby's reference that the Financial Legislation by the FNM destroyed the financial industry is most inaccurate. Like Jesse James, those banks operated in the Bahamas apparently being only accountable to themselves. Remember Gulf Union - some people are still waiting on their money. The only benefit these off shore banks seem to possess is that of jobs for Bahamians as Bahamians are forbidden to do business with off shore banks. When one sees the negative image adversely affecting the Bahamas as a blood-money laundering money capital for mafia bosses and ruthless world dictators really goes against the grain of our Christian principles. Evidence also suggests that money for arms or even terrorism may have been facilitated by Bahamian off shore banks. How can any decent Bahamian be associated with such un-Godly trade? Or is Chairman Rigby upset with the Financial Act because some of those banks allegedly closed for illegal activity were major financial backers of the PLP's Campaign 2002?
Finally despite efforts by Prime Minister Perry Christie to unite the Bahamian people, Chairman Rigby still permits the promotion of racist bigotry in the PLP New Times. Referring to the Honorable Brent Symonette as the "Great White Hope" for the FNM, clearly had racial overtures. At this stage of our nation's maturity, such silly statements should not have been said.
Any reasonable person would conclude the concept of honesty has escaped the PLP. Once again, the heading in the PLP's New Times, "Investments soars under the PLP government" is most deceptive as it implies that these investments only came about since the new PLP government took office. Indeed nothing can be further from the truth as most of these projects have all been concluded when the FNM left office. To take credit for these efforts at these times is most dishonest. That is why for misrepresentation and deceit, I have given the PLP government an A+. Chairman Rigby should also regard this as fair notice of my intention to set the record straight on any misleading deceitful or otherwise factually groundless statements coming from the PLP.
Dr. Lea Percentie
June 15th, 2003