When Party Leader Hubert Ingraham addresses an FNM rally, the popular song Simply the Best is often played to sum up his extraordinary record of public service and accomplishments over three non-consecutive terms as Prime Minister of The Bahamas.
Not only has he led the country through the worst global economic crisis in many generations. His administration is also moving the country in a new direction through one of the most ambitious and comprehensive programmes of reform and modernization in Bahamian history.
When Perry Christie addressed a rally in Golden Gates last week, the theme song should have been The Great Pretender. Perry Christie is the greatest pretender in a party of great pretenders.
Even as the Government rapidly mobilized and responded with jobs, benefits, training and counselling for those laid off at the Our Lucaya Hotel, the Leader of the Opposition quickly popped in and out of Grand Bahama to take advantage of the anxiety and loss of those who had just lost their jobs.
Great Pretender Perry Christie pretended to care about the workers and their families. But he did not find the time to actually go and meet with them. He was too busy shedding his own crocodile tears instead of drying the tears of those recently unemployed.
The same man who pretended to care about the former employees of Our Lucaya also pretended to care about the 1,200 workers who were laid off from the Royal Oasis in 2004. Despite his talk back then, he and his government did absolutely nothing to respond to one of the worst lay-offs ever in Grand Bahama.
He now says another PLP government would give “special attention” to Grand Bahama. Where was that “special attention” when they were last in office? Grand Bahamians know what the Opposition means by “special attention”, having been abandoned by the PLP over and over again including in the rebuilding efforts after various hurricanes.
Perry Christie, the Great Pretender, abandoned the Sea Hauler victims. He abandoned senior citizens by failing to initiate a prescription drug benefit. He and his party pretend to care but usually fail to act. This is the party and the leader who sat silently and passively as one of their major supporters tore down a place of worship and family homes. This is compassion PLP style.
Mr. Christie is now promising the same hope and help he failed to provide during five disastrous years in office. Bahamians know better than to trust such an empty promise from the Great Pretender who could not get around to spending the $100,000 grant for MPs on his constituents in Farm Road.
During the rally in Golden Gates, Mr. Christie pretended that he was above the attack and smear politics of Bradley Roberts whom he anointed as Chairman of the PLP. But as much as he may try and pretend, he failed to rebuke his operatives for participating in an out-of-control demonstration with known violent criminals.
He sits by while one of his senior colleagues attacks the integrity of the Special Intelligence Branch. He remains silent when his Deputy falsely and shamefully blames the FNM for suicides. He is presiding over a party of extremists!
Mr. Christie, the Great Pretender, also keeps pretending to be a great democrat, yet he is willing to tolerate and excuse behaviour bordering on undemocratic including a demonstration which threatened the House of Assembly. The most extreme forces in the PLP are now in control of the Opposition.
The Great Pretender has stacked the National Convention, his party’s highest body, with hundreds of Stalwart Councillors personally loyal to him. This means that the PLP’s elected branch representatives are always outnumbered and are subservient to Mr. Christie’s needs.
Today, even after promising yet another remake of the PLP, Mr. Christie seems set to run the same scandal-ridden and incompetent people in the next election. One can’t pretend to be a rose when one continues to surround oneself with poison weed and bad apples.