Against all the rules of the Senate, Senator Carl Bethel got up and attacked the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and the PLP for raising in the public domain the fact that the President of the Senate Kay Forbes Smith was in a position of a conflict of interest. Instead of simply walking away from the debate, accepting what is the plain and ordinary truth of things, the President of the Senate and the Leader of Government Carl Bethel did what the FNM always do and that is double down in wrong doing.
Here is the situation. Following Hurricane Dorian’s passage in September of this year and the damage it wreaked on Grand Bahama, there was confusion in the hurricane response. Despite the fact that you have the National Emergency Management Agency ( NEMA) that is legally responsible for recovery; despite the fact that there is the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Department of Local Government, there was mass confusion on the ground. Instead of the Prime Minister Hubert Minnis stepping up to the plate and putting order in the confusion, he chose his favourite person in Grand Bahama, Kay Forbes Smith.
Although otherwise competent and the woman who credits herself with inventing the winning slogan “ it’s the people’s time”, she is widely reviled and disliked in Grand Bahama as someone who is too partisan and with a terrible bed side manner. There was also one structural problem. She is the President of the Senate and should not be in position where she is taking orders, in fact working for a Minister of the Government. That much is crystal clear.
At the very least, she should not have to preside over a debate in Parliament where she is the subject of the debate. Inevitably, she would be since the confusion which now obtains in hurricane relief in Grand Bahamas is in part her fault, and if not fault her responsibility.
None of this matters to Carl Bethel or the Kay Forbes Smith. To them power is the only fact. They simply want to be in power at any price. They will tough through any ethical lapse or any political embarrassment simply because they have the power to do so.
This is so even though when you read the statement, Senator Bethel in fact concedes that he would not be surprised if Kay Forbes Smith leaves the post and goes full time into hurricane relief and not have to put up with the criticism of the PLP.
Believe us there no grand motive there. They are being coy. They are fixing Kay Forbes Smith with a full time job in Grand Bahama to deal with hurricane relief. That’s the deal.
The Progressive Liberal Party issued a statement saying that Kay Forbes Smith in this matter was a natural disgrace. We agree.