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Nassau, Bahamas – The following is a response by the Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald, Minister of Education, Science and Technology in response to today’s (Thursday 27 April) Tribune article:

My mother (pictured to  the right of Minister Fitzgerald at the podium) has owned an insurance company for more than 30 years. As far back as 1992, 25 years ago, that company has had insurance contracts with the government and quasi-governmental agencies. Her company has had government contracts, therefore, for at least 15 years prior to my entry into public life as an appointed Senator in 2007.

The Tribune writes:”There is nothing to suggest that Mr. Fitzgerald or his family members have done anything wrong in relation to the NIB insurance contracts.”

I wonder then about the relevance of the story?Why bring my mother, a private citizen and an established and astute businesswoman,into the last-minute nastiness of a political campaign?

I WILL NOT BE DETERRED. From a young age I was trained to be strong. I was raised to be bold, independentand confident and to always remain steadfast. The very people they seek to shamelesslyuse to bring harm to me professionally today, are the same people who prepared me to STAND and Stand Tall. I am eternally grateful for my parents and I thank God for them every day.

It has been my experience, as I talk to Bahamians every day that they are focused on what counts — they like the progress that has been made with BAMSI, and new scholarships, the increase in the minimum wage, the launching of NHI.

Bahamians are interested in learning more about our plans for the future, which include universal access to preschool education, after-school programmes at our new sports stadiums, and Second Start, which is our new programme for the re-training and education of adults.

I invite all Bahamians to ignore the public clutter, the innuendos and distractions and to focus on the issues that matter to them as we move all Bahamians forward together.