Categorized | National News

PM Claims ‘Victimization Ended’ – -Roberts Calls Minnis ‘Stranger to Truth’

Despite several calls from opposition voices in light of the arrests and firings of several Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Cabinet ministers as well as supporters, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday asserted that the practice of victimization ended with the Free National Movement’s (FNM) victory in the 1992 election.

His comments came during a church service held at St. Barnabas Anglican Church yesterday in commemoration of the anniversary of Free National Movement’s first election victory.

During the majority of his speech the prime minister compared the similarities of the FNM’s first electoral win to its most recent, along the way championing the party for what he called several great feats it has accomplished, notably the culture of victimization and other corrupt practices.

“Beginning in 1992, we embarked on an era of reform that modernized the Bahamas. The Opening of Parliament in Parliament Square signaled a new day,” Dr. Minnis said.

“The FNM governed in the sunshine, with transparency, accountability and good governance as guiding principles. We restored the economy, including our tourism sector. We restored our good name in the world. We reformed government. We brought basic infrastructure, public services and hope to neglected Family Islands and communities.

“We championed equality and women’s rights. We instituted the most socially progressive agenda in a generation, including in our third term in office, unemployment benefits and a prescription drug benefit.

“We ended the culture of victimization and cleaned up the political process.  We instituted the most ambitious measures in our history to preserve and protect the environment.”

Taking exception to Dr. Minnis’ claim was Progressive Liberal Party Chairman Bradley Roberts who in an interview with The Bahama Journal yesterday said he was flabbergasted by the claims and labelled it outright nonsense.

“In his first 100 days as prime minister, Dr. Minnis has ordered and sanctioned the wrongful arrest and detention of BAIC workers, former PLP Parliamentarians through direct and secret political interference in the work of the police force and has engaged in mass firings of public servants based purely on politics,” Mr. Roberts said.

“None of the promises he made to the poor were kept: not on VAT elimination and not on tax exemptions for inner city communities to facilitate the development of those vulnerable areas. He has no policy on Baha Mar, Grand Bahama, the unacceptably high levels of crime, environmental protection, energy sector reform or the economy. He continues to talk down the Bahamian economy locally and internationally while injuring this country’s international reputation through ill-advised commentary.

“His claims are absolute nonsense.”

Just last week, Gaming Board Secretary Verdant Scott was directed to take vacation as the regulatory body prepared for a forensic audit, this coupled with the subsequent firing of 16 Ministry of Tourism employees on Friday.

In May, PLP Interim Leader Philip Davis lambasted the FNM and its leader for victimization, after several senior National Insurance Board (NIB) employees were placed on paid leave.

In a statement, Mr. Davis called the move vengeful and said the FNM learned nothing about governance during its time as opposition.

FNM Chairman Sidney Collie has gone on record saying through its campaign policy mandate, the FNM has barred anyone associated with the political organization from “issuing threats, intimidating or attempting to victimize” any government employees in the name of politics.

The government said it is seeking to curtail unnecessary expenditure and the results of these audits will assist it in determining the way forward.

The government also warned that where persons are found to be in breach of the Financial Administrative and Audit Act, to have misappropriated public funds or engaged in unlawful activities, the law will take its course.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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