Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
— 1 Peter 5 v 8
That verse is increasingly the creed of those who work in the Foreign Ministry these days as they think about their Minister Daren Henfield. It is not only because it is true as regards those who are suspect PLPs but also because he is a former preacher and was destined to be the Pastor of Calvary Church in East Street before the devil prompted him into politics. The report is that within the Ministry he lives his life in a rage.
There was an amusing moment at the Chinese reception on Thursday 16 January 2020 when the Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs apologised for the absence of the Minister who is the MP for North Abaco by saying that he had to deal with an emergency in Abaco. Someone murmured in the crowd: “ No doubt digging graves in Abaco”.
The party that came to power saying that they would people the foreign missions overseas with professional diplomats has not, does not and cannot fulfil that promise. The Foreign Service under Mr. Henfield and Prime Minister Hubert Minnis is another example of the public trough at which the pigs of the FNM feed every day, every month, every year of their reign.
If you are suspected of being PLP, you get no assignments. If you are suspected of being PLP, you get no overseas postings. You are set to sit at your desk and twiddle your thumbs.
The Minister’s allies are constantly threatening the staff with exile to Elba or worse dismissal because they are suspected of helping the PLP or worse yet thinking about running for the PLP. This from he who sat in the public service as a Royal Bahamas Defence Force Officer was promoted up through the ranks by the PLP, fooled the directorate that he was neutral and then pounced like a lion seeking whom he might devour. That is what we have now at the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The point of this today though is that in the first year in the job, he sent an officer to one of the American missions. The officer had not been there even three months, guarding the public purse but because the FNM head of the mission did not want to follow the rules, the officer was recalled with immediate effect. This had a devastating effect on the officer and on the career prospects going forward.
Now comes the news that Antonio Butler, who just went to Brussels in the new office set up there last year, is to be recalled with immediate effect. The reports that the request for his recall came on the FNM’s letterhead. No explanation given. This a former president of the College of The Bahamas Union of Students. Excelled in everything that he has done up to now but apparently cannot excel in the FNM’s ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It would be different if the Minister had results to show for it. But one thing after the next is botched. The worst example was death of the two Bahamians in Italy. Now he has allowed the Americans to impose searching Bahamian Parliamentarians in the airports and not a word from the Minister. This is supposed to be our first line of defence on the encroachment of Bahamian sovereignty.
That’s life we suppose but there is a special place in hell for people who mistreat others in this way.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday, 18th January, 2020 up to midnight: 159,087
Number of hits for the month of January up to Saturday, 18th January, 2020 up to midnight: 404,539
Number of hits for the year 2020 up to Saturday, 18th January up to midnight: 404,539