If we care for the people of the Bahamas, we must attach the National Health Plan to the referendum for the national lotto.
We cannot afford to be conservative or disposed to preserve existing conditions that perpetuates poor health and a high rate of unnatural death in the Bahamas.
Our Prime Minister stands at a crossroad and precipice, and he must be very careful.
He has the unique opportunity to be great or go down in history as a leader who in his time of adversity, his faith/strength was small.
Our National Health Plan was tabled, voted upon, and passed by both the FNM and the PLP.
However, from what I could gather, the lack of funding for such a program is the reason it has not been implemented.
Now, if the vote is YES for the national lotto, we would have the funding for our National Health Plan.
It is our moral duty to put programs in place to assist the poor. This is the philosophy and the foundation on which the PLP stands.
If anyone thinks that the poor are not our responsibility, or if we are not our brother’s keeper, let me direct you to the bible.
The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 15:7 – If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother.
So to my dear leader The Right Hon. Perry G. Christie, be the protagonist and not the antagonist.
The leader of the FNM and the DNA, I press upon you to always be discerned, pragmatic and assiduous and not insidious. Be importunate or be irrelevant.
I am very sorry, I cannot /will not accept theories or some abstract compendium to something that will change our lives and nation.
It is very rare a leader gets the chance to inject morality into a political policy and more often than not when the opportunity arises, they cower and compromise their morals for special interest.
Of course, I understand Caesar’s world, but think/imagine how much greater a leader of a nation would be, if he can stand with one foot in his world and one foot stands for righteousness.
My PLP brothers and sisters must show strength and resilience.
Every man and woman, PLPs and FNMs, must insist that our National Health Plan be attached to the referendum. 50 percent or more of the funds raised from the National Gaming / Lotto must by law be allocated for our NHP and these funds cannot be used with impunity for any other purpose.
We have the chance to be great and do something unbelievable for the people of the Bahamas.
We need a practical, comprehensive blueprint on where this money/profit/surplus from the National Gaming/Lotto will go.
If this is not done, then we will know that this will be another money piggybank of the few at the top to play with while the people of the Bahamas continue to suffer.
How much will be for building new schools?
How much will be for building new hospitals?
How much will be for education?
How much will be for scholarships?
How much will be for Temporary Assistance to needy Families?
How much will be for Technical Institutes?
How much will go to lowering taxes?
How much will go to develop our agricultural lands?
How much to help with Recycling and Waste Programs?
Once again, we need an impervious system. A comprehensive and transparent blueprint for the disbursement of these funds.
The Bible tells us that we are the leaders/shepherds, and we must lead the flock to greener pastures. That means that we are mandated by God himself to put systems/programs in place, a net if you will, to catch our brothers and sisters who may fall.
Please, I must digress for a moment. Everything in creation that God has given life to, is living in and moving in harmony within the natural order in which God has made it.
The grass, the fruit trees, the fowl of the air, the fish of the sea, the beast of the earth and every creeping thing are all constantly moving in total obedience to its God given nature. God’s will! But, there is a problem with us. There is a problem with God’s greatest creation. God’s greatest creation, you and me my brothers!
If you believe that God made you from the richest dirt, from the most fertile place on earth, the Nile in Northern Africa. There you would find the world’s longest river. The Nile River that runs 4,184 miles long, and the Nile River and its tributaries flow through nine countries. Uganda, Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Zaire, Kenya, Tanzanian, Rwanda, and Burundi. If you know these things then you know that God our father provided everything for us.
This is what a father/leader does for his children/people. Now, how can you the politician, leader, teacher or shepherd not do the same if God has blessed you with the power to make life better for your brothers and sisters?
If we are the direct descendants of God, if we are the inheritors of not only the Bahamas, but the inheritors of the world, why are we living such a life of degradation? Something has gone wrong.
The politicians, leaders, teachers and shepherds, we have lost our way.
We are out of sync, and have lost that natural ability to stand as men. We have been beaten down and living in fear for so long, we forgot what it is to be real men.
In some way, shape or form we have been rejected by our very own.
Yes; I know we must fight against physical and spiritual wickedness in high places, that fight is easy if you know God. What has always been hard for us black men is unity. Why?
If we are still that stone which the builders refuse, how do we become that cornerstone again? I said again because we were the head stone that held our families together.
If I may; first we must understand who we are and our responsibilities as men. We must make a covenant or contract between brothers, and in doing so, we become our brothers’ keeper. This contract or covenant simply means that my word to do no harm to my brothers, is my bond.
If ever you get the chance to come to my teaching or lectures, you will hear the words FEAR and UNITY throughout, FEAR and Unity. In my humble submission these words, if understood and applied properly, they will give us the freedom to master any situation.
FEAR is at the root of this dead like state we the men of the Bahamas are in. So, I hope you will help me ring the bell of resurrection. Anabiosis can only take place when we come together, work together and lift up one another with true love. Unity is the foundation to any people and a nation’s success. This relationship between men and brothers is so important, you can find it throughout the Bible.
Psalms 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.
If we say we are Christians, the believers and followers of Jesus the Christ, as leaders we must project this by governing ourselves with a moral compass or scale. If we say we are men, leaders, we do and speak for our people, then we are going to have to deal with some hard truths.
If we let this referendum go to our people without the NHP, then we would have failed to do for the poor and the needy what we know they cannot do for themselves.
It is time for us to rise and take our rightful place in our sons’ lives, in our children’s lives, in our families’ lives, in our homes and in our nation by insisting that the National Health Plan be a part of the referendum.
We say we are men, but I ask, “What kind of men are we?”
We cannot be men if we have no wisdom, no knowledge and no life.
When we own a house, a car and a boat, we think we are on the mountain top. I say no we are not, because we are still afraid to learn truth, speak truth, fight for truth and live truth. Every man’s purpose in life from birth and before death is to strive to become one with God.
Some might ask the question, “Why now Mr. Astwood?” My answer,
“Penance for my sins.” Look at the condition we are in as black men in a black nation. Now, before you start thinking it’s a black on white thing, NO it’s not; It’s a black on black thing.
For whatever reason, we seem to lack the ability or the testicular fortitude to unite ourselves, pool our resources and escape the mentality of the green-eyed monster.
What is a green-eyed monster? A green-eyed monster is one who is forever locked in a mental state of me, me, me, and mine, mine, mine. It is so bad that some of us would not let our own sons in on the knowledge God Our Father, has allowed us to attain. What is wrong with us?
God said, it is the Shepherd’s responsibility to protect, teach, and lead the sheep to greener pastures. Mandated means, an order issued by a Superior, and in this case, that Superior is God, our Father. Now, you cannot become that which God, Our Father wants you to be, if you are afraid and living your life in fear.
How does one come into and possess wisdom?
The Bible tells us that, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. “Stop right there.” There lies our problem, because we seem to have fear for everything in creation, and don’t have fear for God who is the author and the creator of all things in creation.
Just in case you think this is coming from me trying in some insidious or cunning way to tell you what to do or how to live your life, no. This is why I direct you to what my Grammy calls, the good book!
In the book of Timothy, 5:8, it says:
If any man have not care of his own, and especially of those of his house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
There is also a warning to all Shepherds in the good book of Ezekiel,
Woe to the shepherds that feed themselves.
Then a question was asked.
Should not the Shepherds feed the flocks?
Who are the Shepherds?
Well, the bible tells us in the book of Hebrews 13:17: Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Therefore, if I am responsible for submitting an account of your life, that makes me a Shepherd. And because I love you, if the Master, God Our Father were to ask, who among you will speak for his brother? I would love to raise my hand, and with my heart filled with joy say, “I will.”
Yes! the shepherds are the fathers, the rulers, the ministers, the pastors, the businessmen, the educators and the government. Who are the sheep, the flock? Our children, our brothers who are broken financially, broken spiritually, broken mentally, broken in body, broken in their souls and stripped of who they are, as black men in a black nation.
It is time for a paradigm shift, a metamorphosis in the way we think. Our mentality is all messed up when it comes to working together to create a better life and nation for our families and ourselves. We Need A Leader.
The Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie is our leader, and the leader of the PLP.
This is my opinion from years of listening and observing him.
He is a thinker before action, then action with a sense of humility.
His every thought and action are infected by compassion for his people.
It is not enough, to just say, he puts the people of the Bahamas first, but every beat of his heart is connected to our well-being.
No matter what one or many might say about this great Bahamian, father, leader, unyielding fighter for the uplifting of Bahamians, because at the end of his journey his name will be synonymous with The Rt. Hon. Sir Lynden Pindling, and that my friends is great company.
Psalms 21:1:4 reads: The king shall joy in thy strength. O Lord; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withheld the request of his lips. For thou dost meet him with the blessings of goodness; thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days forever and ever.
What makes a great leader?
First, one who fears GOD.
One who can sincerely listen to another’s opinions.
One who can teach and lead without arrogance.
Recognizing and using the abilities of others around him.
One who can admit when he is wrong and without hesitation put a stop to anyone who is doing wrong.
A great leader never has to lift a finger, because he surrounds himself with competent men and women.
The last thing, a great leader humbles himself before GOD and his Nation.
Let us be great!
Thanks for reading, and may God bless you and the Bahamas.
By: Lewis E. Astwood Jr.