Categorized | National News

Roberts: PLP Tackled Crime, Immigration, Economy in One Year

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts said a lot of the facts surrounding the one year anniversary of the PLP being elected to government have been spun out of context and do not provide the “unadultered facts.”

In a press release sent out Monday, Chairman Roberts said the truth is that the new PLP Government has been quick to take on the big issues that affect The Bahamas. Crime, unemployment and the economy, immigration are the big issues that the FNM failed to adequately address.

On the crime front, Mr. Roberts said a key part of the success of the PLP’s crime policy was the reintroduction of the Urban Renewal programme.

Other crime fighting initiatives include saturation patrols and rapid response strike forces by the police and the swift justice by the Attorney General’s Office.

“These programs have yielded positive results as crime is down 13 per cent and the conviction rate is up 18 per cent,” he added. “These are also good news for the country.”

Mr. Roberts added that it is noteworthy that of the businesses adversely impacted by the road works, 248 applied for the $15 million compensation plan and 229 received relief, a 92 per cent success rate.

“The businesses and jobs saved by this initiative are good news for workers, the business community and the economy,” he explained. “This is an FNM mess that the PLP Government cleaned up. In restoring the economy, the prime minister moved quickly in letting the international investment community know that The Bahamas was open for business.

“There will be full employment on Bimini this year with the Genting Resort and Marina; the transformation of the Reef Village in Freeport will begin shortly; several small hotel properties are opening and being constructed in Eleuthera; final approvals for the $220 million PGA Village on Cat Island will be concluded this week and there are active negotiations on projects for other islands such as Abaco. The government is moving quickly and working assiduously in stimulating the economy and creating jobs for our people. The prime minister has done more to get new direct investment in the country than the FNM did in five years and he is just getting started.”

Mr. Roberts added that legislation has been tabled in Parliament for the establishment of a National Training Agency that will have the mandate of matching the skill sets of the country with the labour demands of our economy.

He added that the mortgage relief programme, which has been heavily criticised for reportedly failing the Bahamian people, has been retooled and distressed homeowners are now qualifying for relief under the plan.

Mr. Roberts said the business class, the professional class and the middle class were all created and flourished because of our Bahamianisation policy where jobs and business opportunities were reserved or prioritised for Bahamians.

“Do not sell public hysteria, it’s lazy and predatory, just point to one business that failed because of our Bahamianisation and work permit policies,” he said. “The record shows that Bahamianisation ushered in a period of unprecedented prosperity.

“Yet, detractors are all up in arms that the policy will have a negative impact on the Bahamian economy but are unable to provide proof. The law is 40 years old. If economy has not failed yet, then it is not going to. I appeal to Bahamians to reject knee jerk reactions and public hysteria.”

Mr. Roberts said it is a fact that the incoming PLP administration met almost $700 million in bills left behind by the Free National Movement (FNM) Government and there was very little fiscal headroom for the PLP to implement its programs as quickly as many would have liked.

“It was not the recession that caused the former prime minister to immediately cancel and delay projects that negatively impacted the economy,” he said. “Standard and Poor’s said that policy decisions of the FNM did, not the recession.

“A leader in the construction industry said that the country went from “boom to bust” in six months of the FNM coming to office. It was also reported in the media that 75 per cent of contractors and construction workers were either unemployed or underemployed as a result. I remind all and sundry that the financial crisis did not take place until August of 2008, a full seventeen months after the FNM came to office and long after the harmful policies of the FNM had taken root and negatively impacting the country.”

The PLP chairman added that the decision by the FNM to increase hotel room and other taxes; take on the multi-million road works; the introduction of the jobs training program and the jump-start business assistance program helped to push the country to the fiscal cliff.

“Even though the FNM Government expended over $300 million on tourism, stopover visitors were at a 27-year low and tourism expenditure was down during their term while competing destinations in the region enjoyed growth in their respective tourism sectors,” Mr. Roberts said.

“So it was not just the recession – the policy decisions of the FNM amounted to tremendous waste of public funds, made the recession worse and its recovery protracted.”

He said one year down, the PLP Government has four more to go to complete the jobs set out in its Charter for Governance.

“So let us be honest in our reviews and criticism of the first year of governance,” he said. “There are still four more years to go.

“The full impact of the success of any government should be measured over the full duration of their time in office, not over a one-year period.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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