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For the second row in a week, the column highlights the issues in Freeport. It is a real crying shame. Ian Rolle, who is the President of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, the owner in law and the regulator of the city, published a statement in which he said that the city was built to accommodate 250,000 people but that at present it only has 50,000 people.

We believe the former but we do not believe the latter. We think that when the official count is done, it will show that Grand Bahama and Freeport in particular has seen a dramatic shift in its population as a result of the fall off of economic activity there.

But even if we take the statement of Mr. Rolle who tries his best to put a good face on it, he must and the others who own the Port wonder to themselves if they are not responsible for the much-reduced circumstances of what obtains in Freeport today. It is a sad situation.

Last week, we showed the Chairman of the PLP Senator Fred Mitchell in a video shot at the Port Lucaya Market Place in Freeport. What we saw in that video was a graveyard. One of the prominent businessmen in Freeport who owns several restaurants in the establishment showed us the true state of dilapidation in Port Lucaya. The lights at night and the quiet masks the fact that as things begin physically to fall apart, the owners are doing no maintenance. It is a sign of deterioration and depression.

So last week, the Chairman of the PLP Senator Fred Mitchell was in Freeport this time to join the Coalition of Concerned Citizens of Freeport headed by Pastor Eddie Victor to protest the treatment by the Grand Bahama Power Company of their customers. The company unleashed a blitz of disconnections three weeks ago, saying that people were tampering with their meters and extracting electricity unlawfully from them.

Instead of turning the power back on and negotiating the alleged fees, given the economic situation in Freeport, they target a black business company, turned off the lights, refused to turn them back on unless the company will agree not to pursue them in a law suit. That is what you call blackmail in pure and unadulterated language.

The people of Freeport, the licensees of Freeport, get no relief from the regulator the Grand Bahama Port Authority. All they get is the power company is given free range to do as they wish.
This is the same power company that during the time of the PLP turned off the lights of the government schools and the public parks. They are simply insensitive and bloody minded. This is the same power company that is rapacious that declared a 40 million dollars profit in a bad economy last year’.

But remember now that Freeport and Grand Bahama are supposed to be FNM country. They have five sitting FNM MPs. We except Frederick McAlpine because we hear from him. It has a Minister for Grand Bahama from the Senate in the Cabinet. What are the four plus one doing? You hear nothing from them.

So, silence from the FNM government they elected, silence from the MPs they elected and silence from the Grand Bahama Port Authority. The economy is dead and all we hear is the sounds of silence.

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