Categorized | National News

FNM Gov’t Ill Prepared

Recounting a number of failures in the Free National Movement government since coming to office in May of last year, the Chairman Emeritus of the Progressive Liberal Party, Bradley Roberts said  they show that the government is ill prepared for  governance.

 The  former Cabinet Minister in  a press statement  says, “the Minnis government has executed and engaged in a number of failed and questionable policy decisions. Namely, the irrational and inexplicable repeal of the Investment Incentive Act; the mass firings on Grand Bahama; the cancellation of the apprenticeship program with the Grand Bahama Shipyard; the botched Oban deal; and now the recently botched Grand Lucayan purchase deal just to name a few. Employment is now stagnant on Grand Bahama and the anemic economy is slowly dying.



To add insult to injury, the government proposed to change the tax laws (the VAT Act) to refund half of the tax revenue generated in Grand Bahama to the industrial sector. This is contrary to legal opinion.






Asking  “Is the Minnis government even interested in Grand Bahama,” Mr. Roberts  said,”there is no rational explanation for the government’s inability to conclude the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the sale of the Grand Lucayanexecuted and left in place by the Christie PLP administration designed to facilitate and lead the economic resurgence of Grand Bahama. The Prime Minister readily admitted that opening the hotel is critical and catalytic to the island’s economic turnaround, but his actions show otherwise. The brash and ill-advised characterization of the deal by the Deputy Prime Minister was unhelpful but the fact is, fifteen months into their administration, this deal is dead. Negotiations for a new deal from scratch will take at least three and one-half years so it is highly unlikely that a new deal with Wynn will materialize in this term.



As an aside, the gratuitous media comments attributed to Mr. Paul Wynn about his negotiations with the PLP government are inconsequential because he signed a MOU outlining the way forward on the sale of the Grand Lucayan. The MOU contains the unvarnished facts on his negotiations with the Christie administration. I continue to make the point that the facts do matter and for those who wish to deflect away and detract from the failures of this hapless and ineffective FNM, I simply refer to the MOU,”

Said Mr. Roberts.



He said,”the other significant policy failure of this FNM government is the Oban deal. It is a deal reek with fraud where no less than the Prime Minister intentionally and gratuitously misled the Parliament, an impeachable offence. Additionally, the Oban deal offers very little in the way of jobs creation, economic growth and public revenue. The government’s own internal investigation by the cabinet – the same people who approved the Oban deal – concluded that the government broke the law. Their grave offence was committed with no consequences so Oban 2 therefore begs the question of why is the FNM giving themselves two bites at the same proverbial albeit fraudulent cherry and who in the Cabinet or which FNM friend, family or lover stands to substantially benefit from this Oban deal?



This brings me to the Carnival cruise port deal left in place by the PLP government. What is the status of that agreement? There is no question that the proposed Carnival cruise port in East Grand Bahama, for which there is a HOA, would boost badly needed tourist arrivals with both pre and post cruises to and out of East Grand Bahama. Taxi drivers, bus drivers, shops, restaurants and entertainment are just some of the amenities and economic benefits this cruise port can bring to East Grand Bahama, effectively establishing a new city and population center in that part of the island.



The United States government operated a missile tracking base at pristine Gold Rock in east Grand Bahama. The Carnival cruise port would necessitate the opening of an airport at the Gold Rock airstrip, complete with customs and immigration to facilitate the transfer of cruise ship passengers. The airstrip there is in excess of ten thousand linear feet, allowing for the accommodation of large aircraft. The number of new jobs to be generated would be significant,” said the former MP.



Mr. Roberts said,”there is absolutely no comparison between the Carnival Cruise Port and Oban deals in terms of economic benefits to the general community of east Grand Bahama and to the public coffers. The painful health and environmental issues and lessons learned by the residents of Pinder’s Point, Hunters and Lewis Yard from the BORCO experience should make Oban an overwhelming non-starter. The Carnival cruise port deal also does not impose the destructive health and environmental liabilities and threats inherent in a petroleum storage and refining operations.



The PLP government did lay a firm foundation of progress in Grand Bahama on which to build but it is becoming increasing clear that with this Minnis government, the people’s time has not yet come,” said Mr. Roberts.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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