Categorized | National News

PM Insulted Hardworking Bahamians, Says Butler-Turner

Free National Movement (FNM) Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner yesterday raked Prime Minister Perry Christie over the coals for “insulting” hardworking Bahamians by saying the Job Readiness Programme they are participating in is “scandalous.”

Thousands of Bahamians are employed by the programme, which was introduced by the former Ingraham administration and designed as a response to the Great Recession.

The Opposition deputy leader said Mr. Christie’s comments suggest that programme participants were getting paid for doing nothing.

“As with many government programmes, there are typically some individuals who seek to take advantage of such programmes. Where breaches are discovered in various programmes they should be fixed,” she said in a statement yesterday.

“But it is an insult to the majority of honest Bahamians, and unbecoming of a prime minister to put a blanket label of ‘scandalous’ on the Job Readiness Programme because some may have taken advantage of the programme.”

Mrs. Butler-Turner said a “fair and objective” review of the Job Readiness Programme introduced by the Ingraham administration would reveal that the vast majority of participants were placed on job sites and worked earnestly for the minimum pay that they received.

She said large numbers received good training, have improved their marketability and made and are making meaningful contributions in the workplace.

“Primary wage-earners, parents, spouses and young people benefitted by having a job that allowed them to pay their bills in tough times, something many may not have if Mr. Christie and the PLP gut what has been a beneficial programme,” she said.

“The prime minister should have bitten his tongue when using the word ‘scandalous.’ His record of leadership has given special meaning to ‘scandalous.’ So bad were PLP scandals that as the then leader of the Opposition he attempted to hide from public view some of the same scandal-ridden crew who are now again in his cabinet.”

She continued, “Today, what is scandalous is his government’s victimisation of scores of Bahamians since the general election who have been terminated, had their contracts ended or not renewed, strictly on the basis that they were believed to be FNM supporters. What is scandalous is the fact that while crime continues unabated, he does not allow for the publishing of correct or complete crime statistics. What is scandalous is the fact that he has produced a budget deficit of some $550 million while criticising a trumped-up deficit of $505 million. What is scandalous was his backdoor attempt to give his ministers of state a raise. What is scandalous is his appointment of the most bloated cabinet in our history. What is scandalous is his apparent lobbying for an oil company for which he once consulted by saying that he will release profit-sharing information before he has held the referendum vote that he promised the people.”

Mrs. Butler Turner said the FNM remains proud to have offered hurting Bahamians an opportunity to earn a living and receive training in some of the worst economic times seen in the nation’s history.

“We urge to the PLP to go and do likewise instead of the prime minister demonising and insulting hardworking Bahamians,” she said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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