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Get Your Facts Straight ‘Bumpy’

The Whistleblower has been taken to task by PLP supporter and former leader in the now defunct Abaco Independence Movement (AIM) Errington ‘‘Bumpy’’ Watkins for a recent letter-to-the-editor that was published in The Nassau Guardian.

Before critiquing my letter, the former law enforcement officer took a swipe at the leaders of the FNM party, especially that party’s national chairman.

Watkins’ statement about the chairman switching political allegiance faster than trees shed their leaves at Autumn was stale humour, to put it mildly.

Thankfully, Watkins never had to be a comedian in order to survive. Had that been the case, he would have starved to death. Further, Watkins is hardly in a position to question anyone’s allegiance, seeing that he has also supported the FNM, the UBP and the AIM.

While it might be true that he has not switched his allegiance faster than trees shed their leaves at Autumn, he has switched it nonetheless.

If I were PM Perry Christie, I would keep an eye on Watkins. His political allegiance is too sporadic. You never know which party he is going to support next. Watkins said that he normally does not read letters to the editor where the author fails to put his moniker to his letters.

I chose not to put my real name to my letters because the current governing party has a proven track record of persecuting individuals who don’t tow the party line.

Watkins obviously did not take the appropriate time to read the heading of my letter. Whereas he said that my caption is: ‘‘Is Greenslade positioning himself for a PLP nomination in 2007?’’  The actual caption reads: ’’Is Greenslade positioning himself for a PLP nomination in 2017?’’

My point is this: Why would I in 2012 say that Greenslade is positioning himself for a nomination in 2007? What sense does that make? 2007 was five years ago. Watkins appears to be watching way too many of those old Back to The Future movies with Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd.

After giving an unnecessary and irrelevent history lesson, Watkins then proceeds to put words into my mouth by saying that my posed question suggests that there was an ulterior motive by Greenslade for inviting Assistant Commissioner Stephen Seymour back into the Police Force.

He then lists off several leadership qualities of the commissioner, as if I had questioned Greenslade’s leadership capability and integrity.

Watkins builds a straw man argument and then tears it down.

For his information, I never once even remotely suggested that the commissioner was not an intelligent, capable, efficient, dedicated and fearless leader.

The issue of Greenslade’s impeccable character was never the focus of my letter. The gist of my letter is that Greenslade has been sounding more and more like a PLP politician rather than a bipartisan commissioner since May 7. That is my opinion and I stand by it.

Law enforcement officers entering into the political arena is nothing unique.

Our current minister of state for national security and PLP senator Keith Bell was a high ranking police officer before he left the force for greener pastures in the political realm.

And the current superintendent of Fox Hill Prison, Dr Elliston Rahming, was very active in frontline politics in the 1990s.

Greenslade’s defence in promoting Seymour to the rank of assistant commissioner was just as passionate as PM Perry Christie’s.

Watkins failed to point out in his letter the rumors in the press of senior ranking officers in the force who are reportedly upset that Seymour was leapfrogged over them for such a high post.

He had left the force on his own will with full pension under the FNM government to pursue a lucrative career in the private sector.

I don’t care how much Watkins and others try to justify bringing back retired officers who have hefty pensions to the force. The stubborn facts remain that the country is up to its neck in debt. That is why I am of the view that The Bahamas cannot afford for political supporters of either the PLP or the FNM getting a second and third bite of the apple, while so many young people cannot even find a minimum wage job.

But Watkins cannot see this. He has on his blinders. Anyway, critics argue that Seymour got his assistant commissioner promotion because he is PLP, and, most importantly, because of his close friendship with the PM.

Whatever Watkins’ views are of former police minister Tommy Turnquest, he would have to admit that Turnquest might be on to something when he said that Seymour’s presence in the force could undermine Greenslade’s authority.

Seeing that Seymour is a close friend of the PM, the commissioner is hardly in the position to ‘‘harden up’’ his mouth to his underling. Why report to Greenslade when you can go straight to the PM?

Further, I never said that Ingraham caused Greenslade to flip-flop, as Watkins alleges that I said.

What I said was that the former PM had accused the commissioner of flip-flopping on the Urban Renewal Programme. True, Ingraham’s version of Urban Renewal leaves much to be desired when compared to the PLP’s.

But seven months into the current administration and its Urban Renewal 2.0 programme, we have already had between 60 to 70 murders.

Had the PLP won the government in January as opposed to May, we would have still had over 100 murders this year. So, it is really pointless in arguing over which political party’s version of urban renewal was more effective. Whether it is the PLP’s urban renewal or the FNM’s, the stubborn facts remain that the country’s murder rate is far too high.

One other thing, Watkins obviously reads the dailies on a regular basis. He praises the urban renewal programme but is conveniently silent on the pay debacle that the workers in that programme have had to deal with. Urban Renewal workers weren’t paid for up to six months.

While Watkins and others have glowing remarks for the programme, I wonder what the mistreated Urban Renewal workers have to say.

Yes, my suspicions about Greenslade positioning himself for a PLP nomination might be incorrect. Watkins might be right in this regards.

But I give him wrong for misquoting me on several crucial points. He made way too many errors in his polemical letter.

This tells me that he did not take sufficient time to read my letter before he decided to sit down and write a refutation. In the future, he needs to get his facts straight before he puts pen to paper.

The Whistleblower
December, 2012

Posted in Opinions

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