Categorized | National News

“PM A Killer of Democracy,” Says DNA Leader

Leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Branville McCartney said Prime Minister Perry Christie’s recent comments made at the College of the Bahamas ultimately “usurps the fourth estate” and portrays the prime minister as a “killer of democracy”.

“For the prime minister to tell the media to go to hell, and by extension, telling the Bahamian people and the freedom of the press to go to hell is very, very concerning. It’s not becoming of a prime minister and certainly not something that a prime minister of our country should ever do,” Mr. McCartney said.

Mr. McCartney said a prime minister should welcome the press and the freedom of the press.

He noted that, as a leader, one must take information that they may dislike “as it comes” whether they agree with the reporting or otherwise.

Last week during an address to students of the College of The Bahamas’ journalism programme, Prime Minister Christie scolded journalists in the country by stating that those in media who criticize his leadership capability can “go to hell”.

“You are supposed to be writing and talking about how to get this country to know its journey,” Mr. Christie said to the aspiring journalists.

Mr. Christie, who scolded members of the press for calling for his resignation, noted that these same critics were not present during noteworthy aspects of his leadership.

“Many journalists don’t have the time for it. It is better to say, ‘Well Christie should resign.’ Well, resign my foot,” he said.

“When I was going around Centerville for eight consecutive elections, none of them were there. When I was talking to the people who voted for me, none of the journalists were there with me. When I promised them I would do my best to help them, none of them were there. Their judgement as to whether I am doing my best, to hell with them. It’s the people with the power, people whose aspirations are for a better way of life for themselves, and their children. You have the right to believe what you believe, to write what you believe. I must respect you for that, but respect me for what I’m trying to do,” Mr. Christie added.

Mr. McCartney said given the fact that Prime Minister Christie was addressing young journalist makes the situation “more damning.”

“What I would have done is encourage the journalist students to do their job, to be diligent in what they do, honest in their reporting, to do their work in investigating and brining to light the news. Because journalists act on behalf of the Bahamian people,” Mr. McCartney said.

Seemingly in contrast to Prime Minister Christie’s remarks, Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis also spoke to the group of aspiring journalist.

Mr. Minnis congratulated the students for choosing to take on such a “challenging role” that he said is “a profession that is essential, but will make you a target of attacks.”

“At times, you will discover or see things that will take you out of your comfort zone. In some respects choosing to be a journalist worthy of the name, will make you an outsider. In fact, you risk becoming just like a politician in opposition who dares to question the policies of those in power,” Dr. Minnis said.

Without the use of any national examples, Dr. Minnis asserted the power of the media and noted that journalists have not always lived up to their potential.

“We have to ask what caused this profession to acquire such a bad rap. It has much to do with ethics or a lack of it,” Dr. Minnis said.

During the address to COB’s journalism programme, Prime Minister Christie also challenged Dr. Minnis and Mr. McCartney to a public debate to determine who is most suitable to run the country.

“Bring Minnis here, bring Branville here, Christie here and say ‘tell us what you believe in,’ and make your judgment. Ask questions, see who has a command of the country, who understands where the country ought to be going and who could speak to those issues,” Mr. Christie said.

Mr. McCartney told The Bahama Journal that although Prime Minister Christie’s governing skills are seen every day, he accepts the challenge to a public debate that he said should be held at the College of The Bahamas.

“I’m crafting a letter to take him up on that offer and he should get that letter, God’s willing, early this week,” Mr. McCartney said.

“I know the government is broke, but the DNA will set it up. So, I accept and it’s on us,” he added.

Recently, the Christie Administration has been under heavy scrutiny as a number of controversies including the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) insurance scandal and allegations that a Cabinet minister reportedly interfered with the administration of justice have resulted in calls for the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis and Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources V. Alfred Gray respectively.

Mr. Gray was recently relieved of his portfolio as minister of local government amid investigations into his matter.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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