18 June 2021
The following statement was delivered at a press conference on Friday 18 June 2021 at the William Thompson Softball Field at the Southern Recreation Grounds by the Chairman of the PLP Senator Fred Mitchell:
I am here at the William Thompson Softball field to demonstrate a simple point. That point is that notwithstanding all the grandstanding and chatter in the House by the Prime Minister, the Minister of Sports and the Minister of Works, the Government appears to be unable to pay its bills.
The result is a legacy of unfinished projects and the government cannot state publicly why the projects are not finished. The glaring fact is that they are unable to pay the contractors.
This William Thompson Field is an example.
This project should have been finished since 30 April 2021. The ball field should have been in use by the softball teams. Instead, you can see that grass is as high as Georgia pine and the work has come to a complete stop. As usual, the FNM Government’s half-finished the project and then proclaimed a few months ago in a grand opening ceremony that they had done great favours for the people over the hill.
The evidence is that their claims are rubbish.
This also shows that the commitment to sports and the creative industries is hollow coming from this government.
They cancelled the IAAF World Relays.
They have refused to support the travel of Bahamians abroad to sports events.
In one case the Progressive Liberal Party had to supply financial support because the Government did not pay for the rings for the children who won the basketball championship.
The list of unfinished projects includes the Government building in Eight Mile Rock, the School in Holmes Rock, the Government Building in Bimini, and of course the hospital in Grand Bahama.
The national the baseball stadium in Nassau remains unfinished after more than five years and the general contractor is reportedly still owed some $2.5 million. The engineers and architects have not been paid in over two years.
I add to that the various small contractors who are owed money for weeding the sides of road and others who are owed rent throughout the country but cannot be paid.
I raise this because we are almost certainly now to be engaged in a foolish distraction about the Leader of the Opposition, but PLPs and people of goodwill who care about the public purse must keep their eyes on the prize: IMF. It’s Minnis’ fault. We cannot pay our bills. Our country is embarrassed by this mismanagement of the public funds.