Friday, September 30, 2005

Lunchtime in sharks world

Beware Tommy, the sharks are salivating.

And whether he knows it or not on this blessed Thursday, the sharks are proposing that he should be their main course.

Back in April, Tommy Turnquest was in the news. The news then was that his days as leader of the Free National Movement were being numbered.

Even then, the sharks were salivating.

This is how one story reported the matter:

"Amid reports that he is facing fierce opposition from within his own party, Free National Movement Leader Tommy Turnquest called a press conference on Tuesday to reassure FNM’s that all is well in the party.

"Mr. Turnquest told reporters that he is confident that he has the full support of former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and that as far as he is aware Mr. Ingraham, despite reports, is not interested in returning as leader of the party.

"We in the FNM will not allow our political opponents to capitalize on make-believe issues in our party," said Mr. Turnquest, who added that he is not troubled by opposition within or outside his party.

"They want desperately to take the focus off their incompetence, ineffectiveness and inefficiency. We must continue to reveal their total ineptitude as a government. The old, pompous, all-for-me nature of the PLP is back and we must resolve to rid our country of this rudderless, incompetent and unfocused government. This is the focus of the FNM – nothing more, nothing less."

"The FNM leader called the press conference to respond to a Bahama Journal article published on Monday under the headline "FNM’s Want Tommy Out."

"That story revealed that an advisory council of the party headed by former Deputy Prime Minister Frank Watson has advised Mr. Turnquest that there are many FNM’s who want him out and Mr. Ingraham back in as leader."

Today –some months later- barring some miracle, Mr. Turnquest is set to become history.
This is all so sad for those people who know little or nothing about sharks. The truth in the matter is that sharks do what they do, because that is how they have been designed.

And so, brothers and sisters, a shark is a shark is a shark. And for sure sharks do get hungry. Barring some miracle, Mr. Turnquest is set to become history. He will be –as it were- lunch to some land-based sharks. That they once praised him as their leader is strangely irrelevant to the matter at hand; namely lunch at lunchtime in Bahama Land.

To be quite honest with you, up until quite recently I was one of those profoundly ignorant Bahamians. And to be quite honest, the only sharks I would be able to identify would be the hammerhead and the Great White.

Some of the hammer-heads double as members of parliament in The Commonwealth of the Bahamas. And the Great White is a movie star.

Up until recently, that’s as much as I would confess knowing about sharks. But now this thing arises with Tommy Turnquest; this thing about who is going to lead the Free National Movement to victory whenever the next general elections are called.

The hearsay is that Hubert Alexander Ingraham is the one man who can and will pull this one off. And thus the trumpeted fan-fare and clarion call for Tommy to leave. And the hosannas for Mr. Ingraham to arrive.

Even now I can hear you saying to yourself, "Hold on. Hold on. Hold on, Mr. Bethel, what does this blather about Ingraham and Tommy have to do with what you know or do not know about sharks?"
Let me explain.

The matter involving these two fine Bahamians goes back quite some time. My suspicion is that the matter involving Turnquest the junior has a lot to do with the relationship between Turquest the senior and Mr. Hubert Alexander Ingraham.

And in my wonderful world of surmise and conjecture, my surmise is that the two senior men made a deal that helped decide the fate of the Free National Movement when its Leader, Sir Cecil Vincent Wallace-Whitfield died at the age of 60 in 1990.

Whatever the details of the surmised deal, my conjecture is that Mr. Ingraham was a man to his word; thus the leadership of the Free National Movement was ‘won’ by Tommy The Junior.
As fate would have it, Tommy’s triumph was somewhat akin to what happened at the real Mount Moriah when God Almighty saw to it that a real goat was to be readied for the sacrifice.

The Free National Movement was routed in the ensuing elections. Tommy Turnquest –erstwhile Cabinet Minister and Member of Parliament for the other Mount Moriah- became a 21st. century seatless wonder.

And for whatever wonderful reason, he remained as leader of The Free National Movement.
Even now I can hear ‘your but, buts’ and saying to yourself, " But Hold on. Hold on. But hold on, Mr. Bethel, what does this blather about Ingraham and Tommy have to do with what you know or do not know about sharks?"

Give me a minute. I am trying to explain. But since I am obviously being diverted with all of these references to politicians like Turnquest the Senior and Turnquest the Junior and Hubert Alexander Ingraham, I would recommend that you take note of what is said by people who know what they are talking about when they talk about sharks.

What follows is some of what they say about sharks:
"Out of all the species walking, flying, slithering or swimming, there aren't many who have been around as long, survived as well, or come in so many shapes and kinds as the shark. The earliest evidences of sharks are isolated spines, teeth and scales that appeared about 430 million years ago in the Silurian Period, known as the "Age of Fishes".

"Sharks have a sleek, streamlined design which helps them swim without using up a lot of energy. They certainly need to conserve their energy because they never really sleep and most of them never stop swimming.

"Some sharks are fierce predators, and would be happy to eat you if they encountered you. Almost any shark six feet or longer is a potential danger, but three species have been identified repeatedly in attacks: the Great White Shark, the Tiger Shark and the Bull Shark…

"They spend early portions of their lives in nursery grounds. Some of the advantages sharks have over people are that they keep growing new teeth, they don't have breakable bones, and they are not prone to get cancer. Sometimes sharks are referred to as swimming computers because of the six senses which they possess: vision, hearing, vibration, smell, taste and electro-perception."
So there! I am trying to suggest that there is a kind of family resemblance between certain kinds of politicians and certain kinds of sharks.

You can therefore compare and contrast what you know about the politicians who come your way and whatever you can learn about those critters from the deep.

Suffice it to say that what makes it or breaks it for a politician in The Bahamas is his sense of timing and his capacity to fool enough of the people enough of the time.

From all accounts, Hubert Alexander Ingraham has an uncanny sense of timing. His record demonstrates that he knows when just when to arrive; just when to leave and just when he should be asked to return.

If he were to ever take up residence amidst the sharks, he would be their undisputed king. Tommy Turnquest would of all people know by now that Mr. Ingraham is a man who will keep his word. He did.

Bottom line: It’s lunchtime in Bahama Land. And the sharks scent blood. And for sure, sharks must do what sharks must do.

And for sure, sharks must do what sharks must do.


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