Statement by Jeff Lloyd
discount viagra times;”>Here is My Speech:
best cialis times;”>My Fellow Bahamians, Friends:
It lays heavy on my heart to tell you that we are a nation in crisis, and – on every measure – whether internal or external – we are in decline. We have developed a politics in which nothing done by the party in office is open to criticism or is wrong.
We have created a system of “zombie truths” in which every action, whether it is from incompetence, whether it is partisan or even illegal, is brushed away and seems to settle in our minds as the truth of the PLP or the truth of the FNM, or anything but the actual truth.
What is the truth?
Let’s look internally:
After 43 years of Independence, not only has The Dominican Republic surpassed us in our major industry, but Cuba – a nation under a US embargo for longer than we have had independence – also surpassed us in tourism, in education and innovation.
Crime is what we are known for; increasingly.
I do not speak here of the devastating official count of 143 murders. But what about the thousands of assaults, about the rapes, theft, about the threats of harm which have become routine?
More importantly, my friend, and you know this as well as I do, what about the fear of living in our own country, nervous to leave our homes in the day or night or nervous even…to remain in our homes day or night?
Crime has settled in amongst us like a house guest, while our political leaders helpless to address it, as we, the people, live caged in our houses…made numb with fear.
Our national grade average is D.
The average of our nation’s grade average over many years is D, so while other nations are exploding up the development index, we average mediocrity and failure.
Again, forget the D. I am thinking of the mother with two children, working a thankless job, one pay cheque away from ruin.
I am speaking of the silent suffering of people who appear to be doing alright. But, they fear for good reason, that if they risk speaking the truth on some issue, ruin is theirs; here, in this Bahamas.
That mother, faces a hellish truth she knows in her heart-of-hearts every day, sadly. The real risk in the Bahamas – she knows – is not that her children will learn something or get a A grade, not that her child will sit next to an inspired student. She observes that the stories coming out of our schools is not some child solving an equation or writing a marvellous poem or song.
It is children fighting, having sex, doing drugs or teachers failing in their responsibility or responsible teachers without resources.
The risk in our education system – after 43 years of Independence – is that that child will not only fail, but will be infected by a violent, social culture, that undermines the sacrifices of that mother. That is the continuing tragedy.
Our national debt is a hair’s breadth away from exposing the truth of our condition.
Our government is not borrowing money to help that mother’s child; they are not borrowing money on any initiative that we can imagine is likely to reduce crime. Our politics itself undermines the very idea of a society of discipline, and is itself – I am telling you – an instigator of criminality.
Every day, Bahamians watch as foreign banks within our country provide no loans, less and less services, for higher and higher fees, and yet our governments manage to destroy the one bank we have an control.
We sell off state enterprises for nearly nothing, foreign firms come in and make a killing off of our people; BEC wrecks untold anxiety on the population, and yet we hear of deals and favours; but whether its road traffic or our politicians giving away Crown Land to their friends, they claim constantly that nothing is wrong, and every attempt to hold them accountable is condemned as a political attack.
This is our internal situation.
The problem is the world will not wait for us to learn sense.
Competition in the region for tourism, will limit the options available to create new jobs.
Environmental issues will complicate our tourism model.
Terrorism – such as is the case potentially in the recent Egyptian Air tragedy – will cause more lengthy security processes for Bahamians entering the US and Americans arriving from the US, and, my friends, we have done nothing to expand our tourist base.
But the largest impediment to our growth is the same culture of crime we suffer through every day. The US now lists the Bahamas as an “armed conflict zone”, together with Guatemala, Somalia, Belize, and Iraq. How long before travel advisories become bans on travel?
It is already beginning. Recently, the US issued a corruption warning on doing business in the Bahamas.
My friends, this is unprecedented.
In the face of the scandals around persons in Lyford Cay, Crown Land, and political payments, together with the BEC and Bank of the Bahamas scandal, did our politicians say this is a “wake up call” , which is we do not heed it, that there will soon be no job for that hardworking Bahamian mother trying to raise two children alone; there will be even less job opportunities for the thousands of children leaving school every year; there will be more crime, fewer banks, more debt, less services, and life will be made more miserable if we do not heed this US warning…is this what they said?
Did they face the truth?
No. Our politicians dismissed the US report. Our politicians, their lackeys and cronies, in the midst of 3 national scandals, dismissed this warning from the country from which 80% of our tourists arrive.
Dr. Ian Strachan in his recent Facebook posts speaks eloquently to the problem:
Again, their truth is nothing is wrong; or the US has corruption too; or there is corruption everywhere; which means, my friends, they have no commitment to making our situation any better.
My fellow Bahamians, when I see this country, which should be so rich and prosperous, in which we Bahamians should have a life full of creativity, innovation and success in a system facilitated by our “sky high” tax dollars, I weep for our children and our future.
When I look at these facts, and see how we have allowed our politicians to create a system, so that now, even an ordinary job is a political favour, I conclude as follows:
First, we are no longer a democracy in any true sense because the energies of our politicians are aimed directly at their financial sponsors
Second, we all know our political characters, and I’m telling you they cannot fix these problems
For those who expect, hope and have told me over the past 60-90 days that they are expecting from me a political announcement, I warn you, that is our problem.
Politics may come, but we have the habit of immediately going to politics for a few weeks of drama and excitement, and then we relax back into our political tribes to wait for political favours to be disappointed all over again.
This is wrong.
Principles must come first together with a commitment and discipline toward giving life to those principles.
I promise you, I am not going to sit idle or sit here talking as this nation crashes down a ravine of misery and hopelessness, or falls beyond the point of no return.
The problem is not our politicians. It is us. Over the last 90 days, I have identified ordinary Bahamians who are dedicated to uplifting the lives of other Bahamians. I have discovered that there are thousands of Bahamians who are threatened with homelessness and hunger every day. I have discovered hundreds of Bahamian families living in squalor and misery.
We need a movement. I am the first Volunteer. I am not going to create a new initiative. I am going out from the studio every day, and I am going to help those who are already helping others; I am going to serve our people and I am going to ask you to send them what you can to help, but more than that, I am going to ask you to join me.
Simply put, My Fellow Bahamians, we are in the midst of an unprecedented national emergency. A crisis of faith, a crisis of conscience, and ultimately, a crisis, not just of leadership but of servant leadership.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “Anyone can become great, because anyone can serve. In service is our greatness”. Therefore, my friends, I will do everything in my power every day from here forward not to permit any Bahamian child to go to bed hungry, homeless or in fear.
I am going to live Dr. King’s message.
And, I am asking you to join me.
Politics is a strange business. It requires courage and shamelessness and strength. There is no middle ground.