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Newspapers Don’t Vote

0n September 26 Prime Minister Perry Christie stated categorically at the opening of a new housing subdivision that it couldn’t be said on the front page of newspapers that “my minister picked up a cheque when it is a lie, a outrageous lie.” The Prime Minister stated further that newspapers don’t vote and that Bahamians will judge his cabinet ministers on their integrity.

The Prime Minister was defending Immigration Minister Shane Gibson’s position against newspaper reports which said the minister was personally presented with Anna Nicole Smith’s cheque of $10,000, made out to the Public Treasury, the payment for her permanent residency papers. Mr Gibson had vehemently denied that he received the cheque and called the reports “a vicious lie.”

It is true that newspapers don’t vote, but it is equally true that people who read newspapers do. They know when lies are being told, they know who are telling them and they will let them know that they know in a manner and at a time that they least expect to be told.

It would seem that the Prime Minister takes whatever is told to him as gospel and then does his best to defend it. The Prime Minister has to be careful how he accepts information and how that information is treated. He should never be so trusting that he is willing to speak to a situation without properly investigating the merits and verifying to his satisfaction that he has been truthfully given all the facts.

[Bahamas B2B Note: The Guardian’s editor is naive to think that Perry Christie was unaware of the shenanigans surrounding the Anna Nicole affair. Either Mr. Christie is really corrupt, or really stupid and incompetent. ᅠEither way, he is unfit for the job of Prime Minister of The Bahamas.]

Not too long ago Mr Christie took at face value the information that Parliamentarians Keod Smith and Kenyatta Gibson had not engaged in a fist fight in the Cabinet Room and branded the newspaper reports about the incident to be “more apparent than real.” One of the MPs subsequently apologised and a week later, reportedly, the two fighters both resigned their appointed positions in the government although it took more than three weeks for the prime minister to admit that there had in fact been a fight, and to announce the resignations.

In other jurisdictions where Cabinet Ministers have been less than forthright to the House, they have either tendered their resignations or were relieved of their ministerial portfolios. The most notable that comes to mind is Britain’s Minister of War John Profumo who lied to the House of Commons about his affair with show girl Christine Keeler, who was also having an affair with a foreign intelligence naval officer. That blunder also led to the resignation of a then ill Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and the defeat of the Conservative Party in the general election that brought Harold Wilson and the Labour Party to power.

And just this month in Jamaica the Information Minister Colin Campbell resigned from the Cabinet when it was revealed that he made a personal appeal to a private company for a contribution to the governing party’s election campaign. Prime Minister Portia Simpson ordered the party to return the money and said that by resigning, Campbell acted “in the highest tradition of public life.”

For the most part the Bahamian parliamentary system operates on the same Westminster model as the British Parliament and others of the Commonwealth. The difference, however, is that in The Bahamas unless a minister of the government is fired, there is never a thought of resigning in the face of a mounting scandal.

Editorial from The Nassau Guardian

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