Categorized | National News

Roberts: Freeport Hit Rock Bottom Under FNM

Freeport hit “rock bottom” under the Free National Movement’s (FNM) watch, according to Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts, who on Monday blasted the Opposition for criticising his government’s handling of the Grand Bahama economy.

The FNM’s Grand Bahama Council recently criticised the Christie administration saying it has failed to bring the leadership and vision required to turn around Grand Bahama’s struggling economy.

In fact, the Council said the increased taxes, Customs fees and uncertainty about the implementation and effect of the value added tax system have caused more damage to the island’s fragile economy.

“Having presided over one of the steepest economic declines in the history of Grand Bahama where general unemployment exceeded 20 per cent and youth unemployment exceeded 30 per cent during their last term in office, the FNM now has the nerve and gumption to open its mouth about the PLP’s stewardship of Freeport and Grand Bahama,” he said.

“The PLP dismisses this claim out of hand as nonsensical rhetoric with no connection to reality and I am quick to remind the Bahamian people that Freeport suffered significant economic deterioration, social dislocation and hit rock bottom under the watch of the FNM.”

Mr. Roberts said the PLP Government has demonstrated a “clear vision for and superior leadership” in Freeport well beyond that of the FNM in its last term.

He said the immediate establishment of the Ministry of Grand Bahama; the strict enforcement of immigration policies in Freeport’s industrial sector and the refurbishment of the Reef Village that will create at least 1,000 new jobs this year collectively speak to the clarity of vision and the priority that the government has given to the needs of the Grand Bahamian people.

“The agreement between Hutchinson Whampoa and the Sunwing Travel Group of Canada signals the economic resurgence of Freeport and is without question the single most significant economic stimulus for Freeport over the last six years and this is only the beginning,” he said.

The FNM’s Council also recently said it was “troubled” by sudden resignation of Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) Chairman, Ian Fair.

The Council is now questioning who will succeed Mr. Fair and said while a qualified Bahamian should be appointed to the post it believes that the Christie administration will allow an appointment which fulfils a “political promise and payback.”

“As for the resignation of the chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, the prime minister’s publicly stated position was a deferment of the chair appointment until after the general elections. Former Prime Minister [Hubert] Ingraham in his infinite wisdom clearly thought otherwise, approved the appointment and now the FNM is weeping and wailing about the uncertainty Ingraham’s decision has created. I simply say to the FNM, ‘physician, heal thyself’,” he said.

“This government under the leadership of Perry G. Christie remains focused and determined in its resolve to confidently facilitate an economic resurgence in Grand Bahama and The Bahamas in general and the Progressive Liberal Party is in full support of this government’s economic policies geared toward achieving this goal.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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