In May of last year, Perry Gladstone Christie was sworn in as the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. A week ago, he defended himself and his Cabinet against accusations made about his relationship with a wealthy supporter. What struck me as I listened to the reports was that Prime Minister Christie did not seem to understand what the issue was. For him, it was the justification of the access the gentleman appears to have to his Government through his financial generosity.

That is not the issue at all. Mr. Nygard is irrelevant.

When Mr. Christie and his Cabinet were sworn in, they were not, as is often touted by the media in error, sworn in as a PLP Government, but as the Government of an independent Bahamas. Their commitment to the welfare of every Bahamian was their sworn duty. Their behavior, therefore, would not be judged only by their supporters, but by all the citizens of the Bahamas, regardless of how they voted in the last election. Therefore when a substantial portion of the electorate is offended by their behavior, it is not enough to prove that nothing wrong had been done. It is necessary to to assure them that their opinion as citizens is important enough for the offenders to cease the offensive behavior and to commit that it would not be repeated. It is important that Government’s ethical standards are above question.

It is worth noting that for this very reason most national leaders have a policy that meetings with investors, industrial leaders and other national leaders are held under strictly proscribed conditions, which usually do not include the privacy of an investor’s living room. And the fact that a mistake of this kind may have been made in the past is not a good enough reason to repeat it.

The country has a right to expect unquestionable behavior from its Government. Or, as is often said in the Justice system, justice (or right) must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.

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