Categorized | National News

“No Plan for Debt Reduction,” Says Cooper

Exuma and Ragged Island Member of Parliament (MP) I. Chester Cooper charged that the 2017/2018 Budget Communication presented by Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest last Wednesday was the “wrong speech” and there is no plan to reduce the country’s debt.

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) MP’s assertion was made yesterday while contributing to the budget debate in the House of Assembly.

Mr. Cooper stressed that the communication was the “wrong speech, at the wrong time, in the wrong place,” charging that what he expected was a mature assessment of the local economy, a call for unity to move forward together to resolve whatever challenges that exist.

He said that instead, he was left with no confidence that Bahamians will be any better off in five years than they are today.

“I see no real initiative to alleviate heavily or bring relief to the inner city,” Mr. Cooper said.

“Why I say the wrong time, I hear very little optimism at a time we need it most and I see very little plans for economic growth.

“Instead, I’m noticing an unprecedented level of negativity, partisanship and tribalism if you would. It is more troubling Mr. Speaker because when I look at the projections for national debt and the deficit two to three years out, I see that this government is not predicting that it would get much better.

“There’s no real plan to reduce the national debt despite all that rally talk.”

Mr. Cooper also took issue with the fact that there was no mention of Baha Mar in the Speech from the Throne.

He also slammed the government for its campaign promises about repealing value-added tax (VAT) on breadbasket items, education, electricity and healthcare, and attributing it to the country’s fragile state.

Mr. Cooper, however, suspects that the government was advised otherwise after the election.

Mr. Cooper meantime alluded to what he felt was positive in the proposed fiscal plan.

The MP said he was delighted to hear about campaign finance reform, but there can no longer be lip service to this.

However, he noted the lack of reference to the National Development Plan and assured that he is prepared to work with the government when it comes to the ease of doing business in the country.


Written by Jones Bahamas

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