By Obie Roberts
PLP Vice Chairman
There are simple and compelling reasons why Bahamians, far and wide, should not support this Minnis led FNM government.
He used the national budget not to empower Bahamians, but to create hardship for literally thousands of Bahamians. Contractors are not being paid; nurses are not confirmed; transportation contracts were terminated; thousands of public service workers were separated from the public service; and social assistance to the vulnerable among us was slashed.
Meanwhile, the billions of dollars borrowed were used to pay off selected and preferred contractors with one contractor reportedly receiving a whopping $60 million, a payment the government lacks the courage to admit to when it was mentioned in Parliament.
The PLP used the national budget as a matter of public policy to regularize the employment status of contract workers in the public service, causing for greater stability and certainty in the lives of thousands of Bahamian families headed by these workers. A return of the PLP to government will restore this stability and certainty.
Bahamians must never forget the arrogant, harrowing and haunting words from the FNM rally platform: “from the hill to the valley… they all gone.” When political leaders threaten your very livelihood and the stability of your family as a policy mandate if given, believe them and do everything within your power to deny them power. Retribution as a condition of power must be summarily and roundly rejected.
Mercifully, there were no hurricanes or natural disasters to hit The Bahamas – the disasters were all man made and driven by the policy decisions of the cabinet office with Dr. Minnis as the ring master.
There is clearly no pro-growth agenda and strategy by the Minnis government. The Commercial Enterprise Bill had the consequence of weakening our immigration laws with very little economic benefit to show for it. The attempt to resuscitate the beleaguered economy of Grand Bahama was an epic failure to date. Jobs were lost instead of created, there is no economic activity on that island and notwithstanding repeated claims by the government that many investors were lining up to purchase the Grand Lucayan, the only investor Bahamians saw was the government.
Thank God fore the PLP as our saving grace remain Baha Mar and the Pointe. Everything this government has turned to powder and pillars of salt.
We have however heard and seen media reports of special interests seeking to take over operational control of the cruise ship port in Nassau and the public port a Morgan’s Bluff. Talk about transferring the country’s public wealth to FNM elites.
As important as energy is to our economy and the pocketbooks of Bahamians, the government’s mismanagement and political interference in the affairs of BPL to date border of criminal. The power plants and electrical grid remain decrepit and unreliable while electricity costs soar and blackouts continue unabated. The loss of multiple power plants from fire due to an ill-advised and expensive separation package has exacerbated the situation at BPL with no explanation or accountability forthcoming from this Minnis led government. The promised investigation into the board of BPL has not materialized, but the government is saddled with an expensive lawsuit.
There has been no movement on universal health care, but frustrated health professionals have withdrawn their labour and taken multiple strike votes as the part time Health Minister hurl one insult after the other at these professionals.
The news coming out of education is no better as threats of strike also loom even as the government acquiesced, delaying the opening of school.
The Prime Minister misled the Parliament on the OBAN debacle, a dismissible offence; this offence was swept under the carpet. His cabinet sub-committee concluded that the government broke the law in its handling of OBAN. The beneficial owners remain a mystery; there is no baseline Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and all indications suggest very little economic benefit to Grand Bahama. There is no public support for this project.
The Minnis government remain in crisis management mode since May 2017 – none of the crises represented external threats – all of them were man made due to poor policy decisions rooted in poor, weak and unfocused leadership.
The country has made no progress to date; the government has not been able to point to any progress made so why should Bahamians continue to support Minnis and the FNM? They have no reason to because his policies have not worked for them. They are angry, frustrated and fed up and cannot wait to see the back of this government.