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Accountability and transparency

The two words accountability and transparency, like - "I SAY WHAT I MEAN AND I MEAN WHAT I SAY - were to the voting population of this country in 1992 like a dish of ice cream, and a slice of cake to a hungry child.



After a very disappointing experience with the then-PLP administration, these words were a ray of hope and expectancy of better things to come under a new FNM administration.

And so like a crowd of hungry kids on their way to a party of cake and ice cream, the voters of this country flocked to the polls - the ever-hopeful FNMs and the disgruntled and disappointed PLPs - to give the FNM a great victory and the PLP a humiliating defeat.

The new leader and PM took the bull by the horn, and in short order, pulled the country back from the brink of bankruptcy to an even keel.

For his efforts, he was given an even larger vote of confidence at the polls in 1997 and the word on the street was - the FNM will be the government for a long time - but, alas this was not going to be the case, as the ugly head of corruption began to appear on the political horizon accompanied by ignorance, bigotry and arrogance.

It did not take long for this horrific combination to start exacting its toll on the body politic, the country's economy and the minds of the voters, leaving behind a wrecked party, a crumbled economy and a population of stressed out voters.

If one were to look carefully at the record of the previous government, one would readily discern that at no time was it transparent or accountable, and that it really never was a sunshine government as promised. For the first 4 1/2 - 5 years, things were good, and people were not paying any attention to the promises that were made before the gaining of power. But if the public or opposition were vigilant, it would have discovered quite early into their administration, that those words- ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY - were used only as election gimmicks and vote-catchers.

It was only after Bradley Roberts, through his painstaking investigative and factual reporting and disclosures to Parliament, did John Q. Public begin to sit up and take note of what was really happening in the sunshine.

There were those (Government members and supporters) who were calling Bradley Roberts, a liar, a troublemaker and words unfit to adorn the face of a sheet of foolscap; but mind you, all of Roberts' revelations were not new, for some of them had been appearing in a bi-monthly tabloid (BLACKBELT) for months prior.

With the announcement that Hubert Ingraham would not be seeking a third term in office, a free-for-all scramble began for the leader-elect position.

The dirty tricks department of the party donned their battle gear and took to the battlefield (The Constituencies) promises; bribery and threats were being used left, right and centre, caution was thrown to the wind and no holds were barred - so sure of victory were they.

In 2002 a National Convention was called, controlled and managed by elements of the dirty tricks team. That debacle could not- in any sense of the word - be termed a party's convention.

It was at this point that I saw the beginning of the end for the FNM and did not hesitate in letting it be known, and immediately began preparing a plan to save Long Island from the political catastrophe that I foresaw in the making.

About seven months after the leader-elect election fiasco, the party announced a leader-designate mini-convention.

This proved to be worse than the convention before it, where the leader-elect amendment was defeated, and was nothing short of an old time UBP Island Election Day with food, drinks and briberies galore. The results and the aftermath is now history.

In 1997, shortly after the FNM's resounding victory at the polls, it was announced that all representatives in Parliament would be given $18,000.00 annually for the upkeep and operation of a constituency office in their constituencies, a limited ntunber of MPs opened constituency offices (a number of MPs had their offices opened at their own expense) and kept them operational; but a large number of serving MPs never opened an office and some only 2-3 months before the last elections.

Questions as to what was happening to this money that was being religiously paid to all

MPs monthly was being asked by members of John Q. Public - including myself - in the press, on talk shows and at political constituency meetings.

When asked by me at a political meeting, my MP told that he had his in the bank. When asked to whose account, he answered, "mine of course."

When it was quite evident that an election was near, each Member of Parliament was given $50,000.00 of our money to spend in his/her constituency as he/she saw fit. In one area that I know of, private roads and yards were graded and paved - any half-wit nine-year-old could have looked through this move and come up with one answer only - an election ploy.

I wonder if the perpetrator of this brutal assault on the treasury of this nation, really took note of the transparency of this act. I think not.

Two weeks before the election and the same time after dissolution of Parliament a circular authorising the payment of another sum of $50,000.00 to ex-members of Parliament - for one apparent reason - Campaign Funds - because when Parliament is dissolved all seats become vacant.

I am of the opinion that that act was felonious, as there was no appropriate authority for such an action.

If and until elected Members of Parliament come to grips with the realization that they are custodians and not the absolute owners of the Public Treasury, then I am afraid that this situation would continue to exist.

In our society, rape is high on the list of felonies; but as bad and despicable as it may be, parental or custodial rape is far more despicable and horrific in our society; so when we - John Q. Public - give a government custody of our treasury, WE DO NOT AND I REPEAT DO NOT EXPECT OUR LOVED ONES (the darling and lifeblood of this nation) TO BE RAPED BY POLITICAL BANDITS.

In 1984, a costly Blue Ribbon Commission of Enquiry was held - end results, NO PROSECUTIONS.

In 1994, another costly Commission of Enquiry, end results - some poor people involved became wealthy; but nothing else happened.

There is no doubt in my mind that our Police Force has the necessary facilities, personnel and capabilities of conducting fair, professional, impartial, skilful and complete investigations into the following: -

I. Abuse, misuse or direct misappropriation of Government Funds, Re Constituency Office Allocations.

II. The Air Condition Contract (Ministry of Tourism).

III. The Victory Celebration Party (Leader-Designate) of $31,000.00 supposedly paid for by a Contractor.

IV. The Dowdeswell St. Property Contract-Ministry of Education.

V. Ministry of Education School Repair Contracts.

VI. The granting of a Govt. building to an FNM General in Morgan's Bluff Andros.

VII. The granting of 30 acres of Crown Land in Cabbage Point South Long Island for a questionable project.

VIII. The removal of all soil and hence the destruction of huge acreage of Crown Land in Long Island by supporters of an FNM Member in Parliament.

IX. A large number of individuals on the payroll of various Ministries, whose only job was to campaign and act as gofers for certain Members of Parliament. A minute inspection of pay sheets in various Government Ministries and Corporations will prove very interesting indeed.

X. The allegation of Statutory Rape by a high ranking individual of the former Government should now be proceeded with.

 

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