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THE ATTORNEY GENERAL REWRITES HISTORY ON FREEPORT

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The following statement was issued by the Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party:

For Immediate Release

19 March 2021

Speaking in the Senate yesterday, the Attorney General was clearly confused and plain wrong when he accused the PLP government of abandoning Grand Bahama. It was the FNM who abandoned and failed Grand Bahama.

The decision to purchase (for $65 million) and announced intent to flip the Grand Lucayan Hotel in six months was a bad one as the hotel remains closed after four years of FNM governance and the injection of some $200 million into that property. Hotel staff was severed instead of jobs created so the economy of Grand Bahama never benefitted from that bad FNM deal.

Today, the hotel deal is under review by a third party, the Chairman of the Hotel Corporation and the Tourism Minister remain at odds over the project and while they argue publicly, Grand Bahama has no hotel, no airport and no airlift and people are going to bed hungry and sleeping in cars because they were evicted, they have no money and no food.   

The cancellation of the PLP inspired apprenticeship and jobs training program at the Grand Bahama Shipyard not only displaced, but robbed scores of young Bahamians of valuable training and employment opportunities.

In stark contrast, the PLP demonstrated its commitment to addressing the needs of Grand Bahama by firstly establishing the Ministry of Grand Bahama. We succeeded in stimulating the Grand Bahama economy through the extension of the Hawksbill Creek tax concessions to east and west Grand Bahama; the reopening the Reef Village and Blue Marlin Cove Resort and Marina; the reopening of the Lighthouse Point Hotel; securing airlift with the Sunwing travel Group partnership; reducing taxes on hotel properties by 50% and investing $100 million in public infrastructure development and maintenance.    

The construction of the new police and fire station; scores of affordable homes; the seawall in Smith’s Point; the elevated Fishing Hole Road Causeway; the public school in west Grand Bahama; the government complex in west Grand Bahama; the refurbishment of every public clinic from Sweetings Cay to West End; and extensive renovations to the C.A. Smith and Harold DeGregory Buildings were just some of the projects materialized under the PLP’s $100 million capital works program.

In the process, the rate of unemployment declined measurably in Grand Bahama on the watch of the PLP, consistent with the reduction in unemployment nationally from 14.7% in May 2012 to 9.9% by May 2017 where 39,505 jobs were added to the national economy.

The record will show that the only bright economic spots in the last four years were the projects started by the last PLP administration and completed by the FNM.

No objectively minded person can say that the PLP abandoned Grand Bahama. This is absolute nonsense, idle talk and a stranger to the truth.

Sadly, the FNM simply has no record to run, so in repeated acts of desperation they must deflect from their failures and tell lies on the PLP because they cannot tell the truth about themselves.

This is truly sad.