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Rupert Roberts Joins DNA

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has lost one of its heavy financiers.

Super Value President Rupert Roberts on Friday formally announced his decision to team up with the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), after being “burned” by both governments during and after the multi-million dollar New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP).

“Going back, you had the UBP (United Bahamian Party) and the NDP (National Development Party),” he said during a press conference on Friday. “All the parties kept replacing each other. When it came to the FNM (Free National Movement), I didn’t like the way the FNM government ground up the people in the Blue Hill Road and Market Street areas – sort of steam rolled them into the ground and the way they did those streets actually destroyed a lot of lives.

“We’re still in court. We’re before the Privy Council. The PLP marched and prayed with us and came to power and did nothing about it. They don’t seem to realise, they inherited the lawsuit and they’re going to have to defend it or come forward and settle it. And so, is there any other political party? We’ve had the PLP for 50 years. The FNM and the PLP – there’s been very little difference, so I think it’s time to try something else.”

But, Mr. Roberts, who admitted voting for and heavily financing the PLP acknowledged that while the DNA failed to win any of the seats in the 2012 General Election, its timing was right.

He said at the time, Bahamians were just not prepared to take the chance.

“They went to the polls to eliminate the FNM and the DNA got caught in the trap,” he said.

Still, the longtime businessman did not dismiss the thought of his new party joining alliances with the former government heading into the next election.

“I would personally like to see the best of the FNM get together with the DNA the next election and come up with a real opposition to give the people a better opportunity to vote for a better government,” Mr. Roberts suggested.

But while Mr. Roberts’ decision may have shocked some, it came as no surprise to fellow business owner and DNA Vice Chairman Ethric Bowe, whose position was also announced on Friday.

“Over a year ago, Rupert said to me, ‘So, we’re going to be DNA?’ I said, ‘Man, I’m not fooling with that. We already got rid of the FNM, let’s just call it a day.’ But he said, ‘These guys (the PLP) are a disappointment. They’re just not working out.’ I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, they’ll work out. They’re coming around.’ But, they just never did,” Mr. Bowe said.

“But what is useful here is that Mr. Roberts was able to see the future because what he was telling over a year and a half ago, in December I came to the full conclusion that we’ve got to make a very serious change in The Bahamas because we know for sure that what we have now is not working.”

For Mr. Bowe, going back to the FNM is not an option.

“We can’t do that because the FNM just got us in a deeper mess than we were in before and now we figured the PLP would get us out of this mess and it’s getting worst. It seems as though after three to five months, the government becomes the enemy of the people. We need a permanent change. We need a situation where every day the people who govern this country will appreciate that they are the servants of the people. They are there to make the lives of the people better,” he said.

“We need a very simple contract with the Bahamian people. If you work hard, consistently and do not waste your money, you can progress in this country. This is a starting point. Right now, this is not the case. We need to control our government. Gone are the days when we elect people who become our rulers.”

Welcoming the party’s new member was DNA Leader Branville McCartney who said Mr. Roberts’ story is very much like the party’s story mantra – just because something has not happened before, does not mean it cannot happen.

“Mr. Roberts is perhaps one of the number one businessmen in The Bahamas,” he said. “He is perhaps one of the top employers in The Bahamas and I’m sure many years ago, persons would have told him, it could not happen, but it did and that’s a lesson for all of us, including the political arena. We have seen what the PLP has done over the years and we’ve seen them at their best and we’ve seen what the FNM has done over the years and we’ve seen them at their best and we see where we are today as a country and we as a country and a people are not at our best.”

He again promised that under a DNA government, the power of the people will always be greater than the people in power.

“The FNM experienced this two years ago. The PLP will experience that when the next election is called,” he warned.

Equally pleased to have Mr. Roberts joined their team was DNA Deputy Christopher Mortimer.

“I see this day as an indication that we will be working together to ensure not only that big businesses can succeed in The Bahamas, but small and medium-sized businesses; that people who want to be successful in this country have someone who will be fighting for them and that team is the DNA and today is just the beginning,” he said.

“We will be getting bigger and stronger. We will be standing up for you. We will be making sure that when 2017 comes, the obvious choice for the betterment of The Bahamas is the DNA.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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