The Bahamas - Leadership
Prime Minister Perry Gladstone Christie is presently the longest-serving member of the Bahamian Parliament with over thirty years of service. His career has been marked by dedication and service, but it has not been without controversy and conflict.
Christie's leadership as Minister of Tourism (1982-84) was considered dynamic and led the ministry to new heights. However, in 1984 he resigned from Prime Minister Pindling's Cabinet and from the PLP as a protest over the alleged corruption, i.e. taking bribes from drug traffickers, in the government and the party. He ran as an independent in his same constituency and won. After he returned to the PLP fold in 1990, he was assigned ministerial duties. Christie was co-Deputy Leader of the PLP from 1992 to 1997. Upon Pindling's resignation in 1997 he was elected Deputy, and has since led the PLP.
When the PLP won a landslide election in 2002 over the FNM, Christie became the Prime Minister. In his first Ministerial address to Bahamians, Christie said he was "determined to lead a government of integrity." At the 2003 Trumpet Awards ceremonies Christie was the first individual to be designated a Global Hero, someone who has the "value of character and perspective of an effective leader." The Trumpet Awards honor African-American achievers in diverse fields who have helped form the status of blacks throughout the Americas. The PLP in congratulating him on the award noted his "impeccable record in public life."
However, upon his return from the Awards he faced the perennial issue haunting Bahamian politicians, drug money. Opposition Leader, Tommy Turnquest, had made allegations that the PLP election campaign was funded with drug money. Christie again denied any link with drug trafficking money. In addition to this long-lived issue, nine months after his first term as prime minister began one government critic asked if Christie would be "the nation's first one term wonder?" This censure regarded what were claimed as ongoing issues that were still not addressed. And even furthermore, that Christie lacked a "blueprint, a map and a vision for the way forward." Another more measured point of view contrasted the former reign of the almost frenetic government of the FNM as an extremely hard act to follow, especially with the "progressive conservatism" of the PLP. "Heaviness," "inertia," "crawl" were all terms used to describe current political conditions leading to a sense of restiveness among Bahamians.