Trust or Majority Rule?

Trust or Majority Rule? Having shared many hours with Mr. Pierre Dupuch through most of his campaigns for public office, his recent letter suggesting that Mr. Hubert Ingraham cannot be trusted because of his personal experience with him, gives me an opportunity to offer my thoughts on an interesting time in Bahamian politics.

Mr. Dupuch’s argument rests on three specific points:

Mr. Ingraham changed the electoral boundary of the Constituency Mr. Dupuch was running in, after telling him earlier it was not going to change. Mr. Ingraham “balked” on allowing the FNM to change it’s party constitution to appoint a leader elect and deputy leader elect. He tells us that “The two positions were filled with much fanfare but not ratified.” Mr. Ingraham said he would “never, ever sell 51% of BTC to outsiders.” “Yet, he sold 51% to outsiders.” Let’s examine each point.

First. In our political system (The Westminster System), electoral boundaries are fluid and many are changed each election. So when Mr. Dupuch’s boundaries were changed that would have impacted at least two other candidates. As Mr. Dupuch still won the election it seems a moot point. If Mr. Ingraham was intentionally trying to mess him up, it’s obvious who had the last laugh. What’s the point of harbouring resentment?

Second. A Convention of political party representatives vote to amend their Constitution. And the majority wins. So with the case of the FNM,   amending their  constitution and/or by-laws to permanently include the leader elect and deputy leader elect positions, the majority of them chose not to.

If I remember correctly, the FNM delegates met in convention and Mr. Tommy Turnquest won his bid for leadership over both Mr. Tennyson Wells and Mr. Algernon Allen.

Is this being untrustworthy or is it the way majority rule works? More than 51% of the FNM supported Mr. Ingraham and not us.

I was in Mr. Dupuch’s camp during these events, Mr. Wells and Mr. Allen had been outmanoeuvred. It’s happened to other people in politics both here and abroad. Dr. Bernard Nottage of the PLP comes to mind. But should we harbour resentment or lick our wounds and move on?

All this begs a question. Did Mr. Ingraham and his supporters feel they could not trust the Dupuch team? Looking back on all this, it seems quite plausible.

Third. Many things had changed over the years with BaTelCo since the first attempt to privatise it. The introduction of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and all the services available as a result, were fast eroding the company’s monopoly, so any potential value was dissipating along with their possibility of continued huge profits and ability to move the company in the right direction.

Could this be why Mr. Ingraham changed his mind? I don’t know, but I sure support the sale and have been impressed with the changes to BTC to date. I’m also looking forward to the complete liberalisation of the telephone market in a couple years.

Circumstances and information change perspectives. I know my perspective has changed over the years and my epiphany was coming to the realisation that the larger government gets the worse off we become as citizens. Arthur Seldon wrote: “Majorities are not only potential tyrannies, they are also often irrelevant, inefficient, domineering, wasteful, intrusive, outdated.” And they are incapable of pleasing everyone or fulfilling  multitudes of promises.

In politics, men and women duke it out to lord their beliefs over everyone else and have the coercive power of the state to enforce it. In business we have to win clients one at a time by trying to provide goods and services they are satisfied with.

However, when we get knocked down we have to get up, dust ourselves off and start all over again. I licked my political wounds, so to speak, and prefer to spend my free time learning, thinking about and critiquing public policy and offering alternatives that might make our country a better place for those of us here today and future generations.

Yours in Liberty

Rick Lowe