West Grand Bahama oh West Grand Bahama … ARE YOU READY?
Are you ready for a government which believes in Bahamians?!
ARE YOU READY TO VOTE OBIE AND THE PLP?
You’re going to lead the way, West Grand Bahama!
In 2012, the FNM is going to have a collision with reality – and it’s going to start here, in Grand Bahama!
You’re ready for a new direction, ready for a government that will fight to put Bahamians first, ready for a government that will invest in people…
I have spent a lot of time with the beautiful people of Grand Bahama…and I have seen a lot of lives brought low in a very short period of time. There is too much pain here, brothers and sisters. Too many proud members of the middle class slipping back into poverty.
Grand Bahama is hurting….suffering from nearly five years of almost unthinkable neglect.
Did the FNM government ever even have a plan for creating jobs here? If they did, if they did have a jobs plan….it wasn’t a jobs plan for Bahamians!
After presiding over the most shocking mismanagement of the economy in Grand Bahama in our nation’s history, the Prime Minister has the audacity to ask you for your vote.
They should be asking you for forgiveness, Grand Bahama – not asking you for votes!
And you’ve heard the quote “sound and fury, signifying nothing” – that’s a pretty good description of the FNM campaign so far, isn’t it?
Lots of noise, lots of lies – no new ideas. The PLP has been promoting serious, innovative ideas to fight crime, reduce violence and create jobs since the summer of last year….but the FNM doesn’t have serious or innovative ideas….all they have is their tired old discredited attacks.
Speaking of which, the other night the Prime Mnister said that the PLP likes to reap, not to sow.
You know, West Grand Bahama – if this is the Prime Minister doing his best to win your support it is not a very impressive sight, because nobody believes that.
But when he denigrates my government’s accomplishments, he denigrates the many great Bahamians who worked by my side, who contributed their talents and vision and hard work to their country, and so I cannot let his dishonest comment pass.
We created 22,000 jobs, yes we did. In fact, that’s a conservative estimate! Mr. Prime Minister, put on your reading glasses – look at the labour survey of the Departement of Statistics and the hiring at Atlantis Phase Three, Albany and the Second Chance programme after the employment moratorium. You can look it up – we created that many jobs and more.
We built 1400 homes and a record number of classrooms, and we invested tens of millions in Bahamian entrepreneurs.
When I left office, unemployment was at 7.6 percent – and we were leaders in the region.
In 2007, we had big accomplishments behind us and big projects underway.
Remember when the Prime Minister officially opened the brewery? He himself – in a rare moment of candor – admitted that some people sow and others reap the benefits! The Bahamas Brewery Limited was approved and 90% completed under my watch.
The FNM reaped some $40 million in stamp taxes from the sale of Vopak, after much of the due diligence work on the buyer was completed and approval for sale granted by my government.
The FNM reaped the benefits of the construction of the northern campus of the College of the Bahamas here in Grand Bahama. My government sowed the seeds to expand educational opportunities for thousands of Bahamians.
As a matter of fact, the seeds of most of the fruits being harvested and claimed by the FNM government in our economy were sown by my administration:
- The Ginn Sur Mer anchor project right here in West End.
- The I-Group anchor project in Mayaguana.
- The National Stadium.
- Baha Mar.
- The $400 million Lynden Pindling International Airport project.
When the FNM took office, they realized they had a problem. They realized all these projects were PLP projects, they couldn’t take any credit for them, and they didn’t have any ideas of their own. So what did they do, in many cases? They delayed PLP projects and contracts. They came up with phony excuses for why they were doing it but it was really about politics, plain and simple.
Can you imagine that they did this even as the global recession was tightening its grip on the Bahamian economy?
When Bahamians needed jobs more than ever, they stopped or delayed projects for political reasons?
Standard and Poor’s said that the FNM decision to delay contracts had a direct impact on the Bahamian economy.
And that’s only one of the many ways this “Bahamians-Need-Not-Apply” FNM made the recession worse and mismanaged the economy. You know for yourselves in Grand Bahama that Hubert Ingraham has been stewing in his feuds and vendettas instead of putting you first. Having temper tantrums instead of leading the way on jobs.
One in three young people out of work, unemployment in Grand Bahama well over 20%, the middle class decimated, a list of foreclosures miles long — what a tragedy.
Not to mention their terrible and tragic failure on crime and violence. They dismantled Urban Renewal, Swift Justice, Witness Protection – dismantled them and put nothing in their place. Murders have doubled on their watch. More than 443 murdered, but fewer than 25 convicted! As many as 305 accused of murder out on bail.
Grand Bahama – we can and will do so much better as a nation.
I know you’ll visit our website to learn more about our plans to fight crime and create jobs nationwide, so I can turn my attention now to our plans for Grand Bahama:
You’ve already heard about PROJECT GRAND BAHAMA from some of my colleagues, but let me highlight again for you some key provisions – a policy of putting Bahamians first, with real enforcement for existing protections for Bahamian workers, increased work permit fees for jobs Bahamians are qualified to perform, and a plan to move aggressively to fill job vacancies with qualified Bahamians.
The PLP is committed to establishing a Ministry for Grand Bahama. This will ensure that Grand Bahama’s development receives the focused, specialized attention it deserves.
As for tourism, we need to make Grand Bahama more competitive. We will cut government taxes at the airport and harbour in half, and cut hotel taxes by 50% for a period of five years for existing hotels and ten years for new hotels. .
We will ensure that duty free concessions are extended to East and West Grand Bahama.
We will encourage and support Bahamians who want to build and own bed-and-breakfast guesthouses, boutique hotels, and small resorts – with affordable start-up capital, affordable land, technical support, marketing expertise.
As part of our commitment to doubling the investment in education, we will expand the presence of B.T.V.I. in Grand Bahama in addition to developing new public-private partnerships to establish technology centres for education and training of our people.
Given the importance of the listed initiatives and the critical role the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), I respectfully ask that the GBPA defer the appointment of a new executive chairman until after the general elections. Hubert Ingraham squandered his five year mandate and it is unseemly for him to approve a new chairman on the eve of a general election.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have assembled a team of experience and the ideas and energy of a new Generation to assist me in rebuilding Grand Bahama and indeed The Bahamas. Nowhere have I demonstrated this mixture than right here in Grand Bahama with the experience of Obie Wilchcombe in the west and the youth and dynamism of Tanisha Tynes in the east. Julian Russell in Central Grand Bahama, Greg Moss in Marco City, and Sen., Dr. Michael Darville in Pineridge complete a group of extraordinary candidates ready to work for you on day one.
I am here tonight for Obie, who has been a valued member of my team. In Tourism in 2004 we hit the 5 million mark in arrivals for the first time in history. We also hit the 2 billion dollar mark in Tourism revenue for the first time in 2004 and sustained it in 2005 & 2006. We can achieve big things again.
We were able to attract Jet Blue, Spirit, and Virgin Atlantic to The Bahamas, thereby increasing airlift. Airlift was also dramatically increased to the Family Islands.
West Grand Bahama, we did it before, and I assure you, that we will do it again!
I need you to get registered, and vote Obie and the PLP because we believe in Bahamians. Together we will rebuild Grand Bahama and create the opportunities you need to lift yourselves up and return West End to the glory days like those when you were the Capital of Grand Bahama.
Can I count on you Grand Bahama?
Do you believe in Bahamians the way we do?
Are you voting Obie and the PLP?