There has been much hoopla about Ms. Cleola Hamilton, parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She is also the Member of Parliament for South Beach. And yes, she is also the president of the Bahamas Nurses Union (BNU) and the vice president of the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
Put more plainly, Ms. Hamilton is privy to government information by way of being a member of parliament and a parliamentary secretary but she expects to properly represent unionized workers of this country.
I would not waste time and ask Ms. Hamilton what she will do when a dispute arises and she has to decide which side of the fence she is on. The prime minister seeing no problem with Hamilton being a union leader and a member of parliament does not come as a surprise to me one bit. He knows that he is in an automatic “win win” situation.
Ms. Hamilton’s blatant disregard for what should be an obvious conflict of interest speaks to the psyche of our citizenry. We are a very passive people and we only get loud or see the need to take action when someone tampers with our weekly earnings.
Let me site a few examples.
(1). The New Providence Road Improvement project: The overrun will cost the country over 100 million dollars. No one is calling for the arrests of the persons responsible.
(2). The over 400 accused murderers on bail that are free to cause havoc on our streets: The Attorney General cited that there were major operational failures in the AG’s office and this contributed to this mind-blogging figure. No one is calling for an investigation into alleged corruption.
(3). The increasing cost of fuel in the country: One gallon of gas costs at least $5.75 per gallon. Our fuel surcharge is so high that over 5,000 Bahamians at one point were permanently without electricity.
(4). The enrichment of everyone else in the Bahamas, except Bahamians.
I concede that Bahamians are fast asleep at the wheel and we have been fast asleep for a long time. The things that occur in the Bahamas can only occur in other countries with the aid of armies and military force. No right thinking Bahamian should stand by and continue to accept second class treatment.
When are we going to wake up and demand our birth right as Bahamians? Our 40th year of Independence is just under nine months away. Danilo Dolci said, “It's important to know that words don't move mountains. Work, exacting work moves mountains”.
Ms. Hamilton will continue on in her conflicting roles because most of us will continue to just talk. Only a few Bahamians will openly protest their disagreement with this conflict of interest. Furthermore, the high price of oil and bread will continue to rise without any objection from most Bahamians. The fact that we continue to be blocked from getting our fair share of the economic pie will continue unabated because the vast majority sees nothing wrong with the current economic system and the ones who see a problem will only whisper in the wind.