Even at 39 years old, I can’t understand the pandemonium caused by the election season in the Bahamas. Another name for the election season is the silly season and indeed it occurs every five years in our country.From catchy slogans, theme songs and the bashing of political opponents, Bahamians are whipped up into frenzy just before the general elections. And don’t forget the promises that the electorate hears every election season.
One of the PLP’s catch phrases this year was the Gold Rush. Many of their political speakers referred to the PLP supporters all clad in their paraphernalia as a sea of gold. The brilliance in this theme I believe has not been fully explored and it will be the object of discussion amongst the politically astute for generations to come. In my view this was borderline genius.
The Gold Rush theme invoked a sense of belief in Bahamians that something good was about to happen. It gave hope that all would be ok. History tells us that when you are a part of a Gold Rush, that the sky is the limit and that everything will be ok in a matter of time. The Gold Rush gave us hope that economic prosperity and wealth was just on the horizon. All you had to do was fall in line and be a part of the team.
But I ask the average Bahamian today, did you experience the Gold Rush? Or were you sold a dream that should have been called the “Gold Rust”?
The 10,000 jobs have not materialized. The doubling of the investment in education is never mentioned anymore. Our electricity bills have not decreased. The misery index appears to have remained the same. The handling of the gambling referendum has been blotched several times. Crime is still very much out of control. There is a major scandal at the National Insurance Board. The Bahamas suffered another economic downgrade by Moody’s. Bahamians are still looking for jobs and the much tooted relief that they were promised has not come to pass. The average Bahamian wants to know where the Gold Rush is.
The saying that he who feels it knows it is not a paradox. It is a real life scenario. It appears that the Gold Rush did occur but once again the gold has been devoured by the elite. Cabinet, diplomatic, general management and board appointments for the old boys have sucked the life out of many young aspiring Bahamians who were not allowed to get a fair share of the economic pie. Some of these appointees are 70 odd years old and can hardly walk. Even foreign consultants have had their share of the Gold Rush.
I contend that the Gold Rush did occur but it was never intended to include the masses. As usual we always get the brown end of the stick. In fact we are now experiencing the Gold Rust.