The trouble with the USA

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You can look at what happened this past week with the release of the Investment Report by the United States government on investing in The Bahamas in two ways. Either the Americans are incredibly stupid, best cialis site obtuse and just plain dumb in that they mean to cause problems with the Bahamian people because the PLP is power or they are inept. This is not a happy set of alternatives. James Smith said it more politely that the report which was published in the Bahamian press on Tuesday 1st July did not meet the standards that one would ordinarily expect from a U S State Department report.

Some argue that the choices listed above do not make sense. The US has too sophisticated and smart a diplomacy to cause trouble by inadvertence. They say it is deliberate. If that is so, buy cialis decease then why? Why would you want to cause trouble in this little country on your southern border? That too does not make sense.

The truth is probably more complex than all of those explanations and choices. How about the fact that this place is small potatoes? You have some bureaucrat sitting up in some office in Washington or even here in Nassau and they write these reports from public sources, can’t bother to test it; they just repeat it. And what would they care or know about the unintended consequences of what they write? Matters not to them. Nothing we do or say affects them and nothing turns by way of sanctions for their inaccuracies. What can we really do beside protest?

So to show you how myopic life can be for a large country and its bureaucrats: the customs officers who serve the United States in Nassau at the Lynden Pindling Airport have no idea who the public officials are in The Bahamas, the country in which they serve. Ask them if they know the name of the Prime Minister and see if they know? Probably not and what’s worse is they probably don’t give a hoot and it shows.

This is not the first time that Bahamians and Bahamian officials have had to grapple with blatant falsehoods and inaccuracies by U S officials about this country in a manner which borders on intrusion into the internal affairs of this country. It appears to be one assault after the next.

Shortly before this latest set of misdeeds, there was the report that they had been secretly taping our telephone conversations and keeping the recordings without telling us and without permission

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. When The Bahamas government demanded answers, they simply stalled.

There are other issues that are largely dealt with in private. Bahamian diplomacy strives to keep any possible disputes to a minimum and to keep them in camera as much as possible. It appears that only one side supports that view. One report after the next incenses Bahamians about what the U S does and what they think of us. There are the bulletins on crime, even though the United States is amongst the most dangerous places in the world to go if you read he press and all the mass shootings which take place in that country and in their major cities and small towns. There is the narcotics report which names The Bahamas as a trafficking country even though the reason for the drugs is because the United States consumes the drugs and therefore drives the market.

There is the report on trafficking in persons which threatens sanctions against The Bahamas for an issue which is not amongst this country’s major issues, the enforcement of which is resource challenged and further is driven once again by the quest to get to the United States. There is the report on money matters which would blame The Bahamas for washing illegal cash in our financial services sector, even though the fact is most money laundering takes place in the United States.

There is clearly one rule for one and one rule for another.

One rule for the big country, another rule for the small country.

The other issue of course is that no matter what the Americans do or say in insulting us there is a cadre of Bahamians who support what they do. The Nassau Guardian claims that the Americans were right on issues of transparency even though it was the Americans themselves who were interfering with the contracting process. Then they were plain wrong about the downgrading of the Bahamas financial rating. It was clear also that they have adopted the propaganda lines of the Free National Movement uncritically, lock stock and barrel and turned them into policy statements by the U S government. It is shameful really and embarrassing for them to sink to such low standards.
We got an inkling of this before when Brendt Hardt, the former Charge in The Bahamas, was caught out in Wikileaks with adopting the propaganda of the FNM in describing to his masters back in Washington what the political scene was in the country. So while showing a good face to the PLP, the Americans were busy working with the FNM.

The FNM this time is again obliging. They have sung the praises of the report with Darron Cash, their Chair who is usually a sensible fellow, saying that their Ministers ought to resign because of what the report by the `Americans said, even though the report was clearly inaccurate and biased since they, the Americans, did not declare their interest in the matter. The Minister of State Khaalis Rolle said in a statement to the press that the US Embassy had been lobbying to influence the contractual process. But the Americans have said it, so it must be so. Any port in a storm one guesses.

What we think is a good thing that has come out of all of this is at last the leaders of the PLP are standing up uncritically for The Bahamas. In the period following Pindling’s death and demise, it appeared to many that we had to apologize for being Bahamian, or for being of African descent in this country. There was the tendency to say that it was the Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell who was causing all the problems. They can’t say that this time. The Foreign Minister was not here and had nothing to say on the matter. The issue was handled at the very top of the government and it is clear that there is a broad consensus that the US report was completely out of line.

So even as the Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes cut his final cake with them as Governor General on their annual Independence Day celebration, look behind those smiles. There is lots of unhappiness about the machinations of the US embassy and its personnel in The Bahamas and how they represent and acquit themselves with The Bahamas government.