Is it Really the People’s Time: Layoffs

The Democratic National Alliance was disheartened to hear about the termination of a group of hard working Bahamians attached to the Gaming Board. These firings are just the latest in a series of staff cuts which have taken place at government agencies around the country since the Minnis Administration took office. Some media estimates suggest that hundreds of jobs have been cut since May 10.

The DNA is fully aware that governing requires difficult decisions being made to right size the country’s economy, however, as part of its’ mandate, it is also the responsibility of a good government to protect and enhance the dignity of its citizens as well. It is most distressing that these layoffs come as we prepare to enter the busy holiday season, a time dedicated to spending time with loved ones, and a time typically associated with gift giving. Sadly, since taking office the FNM seemingly embraced the need to make difficult decisions, but has ignored its responsibility to ensure that impacted Bahamians are not also stripped of their humanity.

The rationale surrounding these firings is that these terminations are the result of the long-held practice of inserting political appointees, family and friends into key roles within the public service. It is a practice which has been employed by both major political parties and has led to the need for widespread change in the way we view and manage the public service.

As more and more hard working Bahamian mothers and fathers are sent to the unemployment line, the government cannot remain silent. The news of these layoffs should by now be accompanied by a concrete plan of action detailing economic goals, initiatives to encourage entrepreneurship (particularly among young Bahamians), improve the ease of doing business and work to modernize the processes by which business is done and money is made within our borders.

Having rode into office on a myriad of promises, including plans to fix the economy and address crippling unemployment, the reports of these terminations are indeed a difficult pill for Bahamians – many of whom voted for this administration – to swallow.

What Bahamians want and need now more than ever is a manifestation of the hope they felt on May 10 as they voted in a government who pledged to do things differently. In the absence of a clear and defined plan, the Minnis administration only affirms the narrative that they are aimless, visionless, and ill-prepared to govern. Is it really “The People’s Time”?

Chris Mortimer
DNA Interim Leader