The way politicians operate today the conflict lines are blurred.
Simeon Bowe and Ervin Knowles inadvertently got caught up in conflict controversies when in charge of government ministries during the Sir Lynden Pindling era of governance. Simply because the anomalies occurred on their watch Sir Lynden fired them.
Bowe, neither Knowles recovered politically. Their political careers were doomed. Hubert Ingraham thought a company Brent Symonette was associated with, got a contract under his watch and he fired Symonette, although there was a career revival in that instance.
However, the lines of conflict thus became blurred.
Whereas in the case of Sir Lynden of that early PLP governance period, conflict committed by elected persons was clearly defined, that no longer seems to be the case. And so it is that the governing Progressive Liberal Party is challenged to explain away allegations made against two of its Cabinet Ministers, Jerome Fitzgerald and Allyson Maynard-Gibson regarding business conflicts.
Explanations have come forth from both Fitzgerald and Maynard-Gibson, but the cloud exists over the PLP during this election cycle. Odd, irregular behavior is associated with the PLP and detractors to the governing party have been doing a good job of keeping the spotlight on Fitzgerald and Maynard-Gibson.
As a result, the embattled politicians and their colleagues, while trying mightily to focus on gaining a strong voter base on the campaign trail, find themselves on the defensive rather than being offensive and taking the fight to the free National Movement and others in opposition.
That this present PLP culture is different from that of the Pindling past is not in doubt. What one could not get away with under Pindling seems to be defended by the Perry Christie PLP. As to the merit of the arguments in defense of Fitzgerald and Maynard-Gibson, many Bahamians are more concerned about the perception.
They are bothered about how it looks, with comfortable, rich politicians appearing to be seeking to boost their coffers while so many others have a difficulty putting bread on the table regularly.
What we lament is the fact that the nation’s young population and those of the developing adults category are closely observing the politicians. They are confused as to what is right and wrong because the politicians are not on the same page with what is wholesome and what is not.
It appears that the general political mindset is to justify any action or verbal atrocity.
The politicians continue to blur the conflict of interest lines.
It is a sad state of affairs.