OSWALD BROWN RESPONDS TO AUDITOR GENERAL’S ATTACK ON DRIVERS

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Former press attaché to the Washington Embassy of The Bahamas had this to say on his Facebook page in response to this stupid article in the press about the drivers and their pay at the embassies of The Bahamas Abroad:

WHY IS THIS CONSIDERED NEWS?

I would not ordinarily comment on a post like this that I saw in one of the groups on Facebook, but it obviously is aimed at criticizing the manner in which government funds were expended at our diplomatic missions abroad, and as the former Press, Cultural Affairs and Information Manager at The Bahamas Embassy in Washington, D.C. for four-plus years before my diplomatic status was revoked following the May 10 general election, I feel compelled to respond to the grossly unfair implications contained in this article.

For starters, I really don’t know why such a relatively small compensation over a three-year period to a driver who was required to be available sometimes for up to 16 hours a day is considered news. I know both drivers attached to the Embassy very well, and on numerous occasions have commended them for their strong work ethic and professionalism in doing with dignity and pride what essentially is a low-paying job.

The Embassy of The Bahamas in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States and by extension one of the most important political capitals of the world, is The Bahamas’ most important Diplomatic Mission in the United States, even more so than The Bahamas’ Permanent Mission to the United Nations, where virtually every other country in the world maintains a Mission.

It is also true that virtually every other country in the world has an Embassy in D.C., which legally and diplomatically is recognized as a part of the respective country. Even more important, D.C. is the city that the President of the United States, arguably the most powerful political leader in the world, calls home.

Let that sobering realization percolate in your minds for a brief moment, then consider the fact that whenever members of The Bahamas Cabinet and other top government officials visit D.C. on official business, the chauffeurs at the Embassy are generally required to transport them to-and-from their various appointments and social engagements. In the case of the Prime Minister and persons in his immediate party, for security reasons the U.S. Secret Services assumes this responsibility.

I have personally taken note of the long hours Embassy chauffeurs work during these visits without complaining, and given the fact that time worked beyond regular working hours is considered overtime paid at time-and-a-half, I am surprised that the overtime paid to the Ambassador’s chauffeur over the three years mentioned in this article is not considerably more.

One of the major problems with Facebook is that it has provided a means for irresponsible individuals to make claims without supporting facts and to foment mischief under the guise of being “Facebook journalists.”