Categorized | National News

Call For Nat’l Jobs Programme Extension – PLP Should ‘Invest In Bahamians,’ Laing Says

With the government’s 52-week job programme ending for hundreds of Bahamians as of August 31st, former Minister of State for Finance Senator Zhivargo Laing has issued an appeal to the government for an extension of the programme.

In a statement issued Sunday, Mr. Laing said if the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is to be believed when it says it believes in investing in Bahamians, then it would move to extend the job programme put in place by the Ingraham administration.

Since the programme launch last August, 4,000 Bahamians were employed.

“The government should extend the program for these struggling Bahamians,” Mr. Laing said.

“It cannot be said that the money is not there because tucked away in the prime minister’s own office budget is $15 million, earmarked for nothing in particular. It is the people’s money! Do what the FNM did; “invest” it in people.”

Mr. Laing said millions of dollars are being spent to provide jobs for PLP MP’s and Senators by appointing the largest Cabinet in the history of The Bahamas when in fact the government should be investing that money in unemployed Bahamians and not PLP politicians.

He said the hundreds of Bahamians who will find themselves at the end of the programme will be going home without one iota of hope for either a temporary job or a permanent job to sustain them.

“They still have their families, mortgages, rent, electricity, and back to school expenses and other obligations,” he said.

“It was the PLP,” he said, “that often suggested that it alone cares for Bahamians, believes in Bahamians and puts Bahamians first.”

Mr. Laing continued, “I urge the Christie Administration to demonstrate heart, compassion and preparedness to govern in difficult times such as these.”

Senator Laing reminded participants of the programme that they will be able to benefit from the Unemployment Benefit Programme left in place by the Ingraham Administration.

“Those Bahamians for whom the programme is coming to an end and who have no immediate job prospects should know that they can apply to the National Insurance Board for benefits under the FNM initiated Unemployment Benefit Programme, so that they can have some additional relief for at least thirteen weeks,” he said.
And while some are reportedly being told that they cannot make such an application because their NIB payments were not paid, Mr. Laing said that that is totally untrue.

It was the government’s obligation, he said, to make such payments and so long as they were on the programme and can prove the same, then they are entitled to apply.

“Ironically, proof of their being on the programme is now the termination letters they are receiving from the Christie administration.

“It was an honour for the Ingraham administration to provide this timely investment in Bahamians in these difficult times and was grateful to the many companies that participated and continue to participate in the programme.”

Mr. Laing said his party is proud of the fact that many Bahamians were able to pay their bills for at least one year in bad economic times; that others were able to receive training that will be with them for a life time making them more marketable; while others were kept on permanently by the companies for which they worked during the 52 weeks.

“The PLP should do like the FNM did and invest in Bahamians.”

Written by Kendeno Knowles

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