MAJOR PLP ACCOMPLISHMENTS 2002 – 2007
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
- 22,000 jobs created in all sectors of the economy.
- Our economy grew by 3.4% in 2005 and was projected to grow by 4% beyond 2006/2007
- Entertained the attraction of approx. 17 billion dollars in FDI
- Over $2.5 Billion of that Investment became tangible. The value of the projects upon completion would exceed $4.5 billion.
- Over 400 million dollars in Contracts awarded to Bahamians as a direct result from FDI
- Government revenue grew from $875 million to $1.36 billion or 55%.
- Under the PLP government, $1.5 billion was added to the Bahamian economy.
- PLP government did not raise taxes during its term in office between 2002 and 2007
- Established a Venture Capital Fund with $3 million to assist entrepreneurs.
- Allocated $25 million at the Bahamas Development Bank to assist entrepreneurs.
- Unemployment declined to an irreducible minimum of 7.6%
- Functioning Hotel Corp which negotiated several FDI projects but most notably negotiated the joint venture between Gov and the I-Group in Mayaguana which would have meant that the Bahamian people would have had the most creative interest in a FDI project ever;
- Sought to buy back land from certain Investments to create affordable Bahamian communities around major Investments;
Some of the major investments which were launched under the 2002 – 2007 PLP Administration:
- The $1.2 Billion Heads of Agreement signed between the Government, the Hotel Corporation and Baha Mar Development Ltd. for the revitalization of Cable Beach;
- The $1 Billion Phase III Atlantis expansion;
- The $500 Million Passerine at Abaco development at Great Guana Cay;
- The $76 million Gold Rock Creek film studio in East Grand Bahama;
- The $35 million development in Pittstown, Crooked Island;
- The $243 million resort development on Crab Cay and Little Crab Cay, Exuma;
- The $90 million Heads of Agreement to create a resort in Rum Cay;
- The $140 million Winding Bay Club at Cherokee Sound, Abaco;
- The $300 million re-development of the Cotton Bay Club on South Eleuthera; and
- The $75 million investment in Central Eleuthera on Windermere Island.
- Created the Venture Capital Fund for Bahamian entrepreneurs needing a start up seed for their businesses;
- Additionally added 25 million dollars to the Bahamas Development Bank so as to offer loans at a far less rate than commercial banks for Bahamian entrepreneurs;
- Enacted an exemption in stamp duty for first time home owners up to $250,000.00 (The FNM upon returning to Gov in 2007 cancelled this, then after seeing the wisdom, as it led to more people buying homes, reinstated and then increased the value of the exemption).
- Created the Domestic Investment Board, which was essentially an Umbrella agency for Bahamian Investors – a one stop shop providing assistance in application and funding for Bahamians wishing to invest in their Country. The slogan became, “Cutting the red tape and rolling out the red carpet for Bahamians!”
Housing and Development projects funded by National Insurance
- The building of more than 1300 homes and 500 fully serviced lots
- Built more houses in three and a half years than the F.N.M. built in 10 years. FNM constructed just over 700 homes in 10 years.
- Put over 6,000 people in new homes
- Created jobs for more than 400 contractors
- Created jobs for more than 2,000 construction workers
- Built first Government Housing Subdivision in Exuma
- Led the way in successful repairs and reconstruction of thousands of homes on Abaco, Eleuthera, Cat Island, Acklins, New Providence, Grand Bahama, Bimini and Grand Cay after hurricanes Frances, Jeanne and Wilma.
- Started construction of a Children / Adolescent Center
- Started construction of a Clinic on Inagua
- Started construction of a Clinic on Grand Cay
- Started construction of Bahamas Mortgage Corporation’s state of the art complex next to Ministry of Works building on J.F.K. Drive
- Oversaw compensation review and salary increases at National Insurance Board
- Repaired all Government rental units
- Built two new Government rental complexes. (Only ones built in last 20 years)
The TRUTH about the AIRPORT and the HARBOUR: As soon as PLP became Government in 2002
Immediately addressed (unconscionable) neglect of infrastructure key to our economy:-
- Nassau International Airport (later renamed Lynden Pindling International Airport by the PLP Govt)
(i) Phase 1 – refurbishment of runway 1432 to the tune of $75 million
(ii) Phase 2 – identified management company and negotiated final agreements to (a) manage LPIA and (b) undertake Project Management of the redevelopment of LPIA in construction of new terminals (as now unfolding); Largest single project ever undertaken by the Bahamas Government.
- Prince George Dock rehabilitated by the purchase and installation of fenders (replacing giant tractor tires) and commissioning of engineering works for installation of bollards at Prince George Dock and resurfacing of the Dock along with other enhancement and security measures including ensuring The Bahamas was ISPS Code compliant (IMO mandate);
Aviation achievements include, in addition to negotiating NAD and the expansion of LPIA:
- Formally commenced process in ICAO for the control of Bahamas airspace
- Installed emergency lights (solar) in over 20 airports nationwide
- Began process of an orderly, rational and structured airport development model by the creation of master plan for Abaco which was to serve as template nationally with other airports to immediately follow (Exuma was next) and in particular the 5 busiest airports;
- Liberalized domestic routes within The Bahamas, which meant that smaller Bahamian airlines could service the routes
- Promptly settled long-standing dispute with Bahamas Air Traffic Controller’s
- Procured universal compliance with ICAO mandate requiring 100 per cent screening at 23 Ports of entry nationwide necessitating major infrastructural works at LPIA and the acquisition of state of the art screening equipment and training of new screeners at LPIA and engagement and training of airport security officers nationwide;
- In Tourism in 2004 we hit the 5 million mark in arrivals for the first time in history http://www.myplp.com/news.php?id=321&cmd=view;
- The Bahamas hit the 2 billion mark in Tourism revenue for the first time in 2004 and sustained it in 2005 & 2006; Central Bank Quarterly Financial Digest
- We attracted 2 A rated movies, both of which topped the box office, Pirates of The Caribbean, and a James Bond film, Casino Royale in 2006;
- The Film Studio in Grand Bahama had become an internationally recognized choice to make first rate movies and holds one of the World’s largest water tanks for water and beach themed movies http://www.thebahamasinvestor.com/2006/grand-bahama-lures-disneys-pirates/ ;
- Jet Blue (Nov. 2004), Spirit (2005), and Virgin (July 2005) Atlantic commenced service to The Bahamas increasing airlift – Airlift was also dramatically increased to the Family Islands
- As an advancement for International Gamers, the PLP introduced Sports betting and poolside betting for the first time
- Our Foreign Offices were fully staffed and functioning. In North America only Plantation, Florida and the office in Canada remain open. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Orlando to name a few, have been closed by the new FNM Government;
- Before the Christie PLP Administration, Sales and Marketing in our foreign officers were overseen generally by non Bahamians. This policy changed and our foreign offices were fully Bahamianized;
- The office in Canada which is now highly successful in its attraction of tourism and investments to The Bahamas was re-opened; it was before-hand closed.
- Tourism was re-branded so that its logo included the Family Islands;
- The Progressive Liberal Party spent more money on Tourism advertising than the present Government is spending
- April 2005 procured the land on the Western tip of New Providence for the formation of the Clifton Heritage Park which is managed and preserved by the Clifton Heritage Authority
- Established the Junkanoo Corporation of The Bahamas (2004);
- Established the Junkanoo Corporation of New Providence (2004);
- Introduced new safety and security measures at Parades by providing portable bleacher seating which qualified for special liability insurance for participants and spectators at the Parade for up to 5 million dollars;
- 2005 Bid and awarded hosting of CARIFESTA 2007 (FNM Gov reneged twice);
Negotiated with the Chinese the gift of a National Stadium
Agriculture and Fisheries
- Agriculture and Fisheries received greater attention: implemented Standards Bureau to ensure that imported and exported goods met international standards;
- Amended Fisheries Act so that boaters from the U.S. fishing in our waters were restricted to less catch allowed to leave the Country – the FNM has now reversed this;
- Created two more restricted Sea Parks – one in Exuma and the other in the Abacos;
- Refurbished Fish Houses and Agricultural Stations throughout the Islands;
- Purchased waxing houses and ripening machines for farmers;
- Reclaimed land from Bahamians who had been awarded land for farming but were using it for other purposes;
- Cleared hundreds of acres of land for farming on Andros, Long Island, Crooked Island, Exuma, and Abaco;
- Revitalized closed packing houses – which meant Farmers could sell their produce to Government
- Extended small loans to fishermen and farmers;
- Made the Grouper and Conch seasonal as catch;
- Some 12 million dollars in funding was secured from the EU for dock and road improvements in several Family Islands;
- Aggressive Measures to ensure price control on bread basket items were implemented – more store owners were prosecuted under the Christie PLP admin in 5 years than in 15 under the FNM, and some $250,000 of fines were collected;
- The Rent Control Act was amended, ensuring Land Lords no longer took advantage of their tenants and that they adhered to new building standards – outlawing among other things, out-door toilets;
- Appointment of a Consultant for Disability Affairs to promote programs for persons with disabilities.
- The establishment and expansion of dedicated accommodations for the Disability Affairs Division with a resource centre, including adaptive equipment for persons with disabilities on 8th Terrace, Centreville.
- The establishment of the radio program, “Spotlight On Disability”.
- The establishment of a support group for females with disabilities.
- The purchase of the former Cheshire Home, Dolphin Drive, for the establishment of a facility to provide care for children with severe disabilities, respite care and additional day care for children with disabilities.
- The expansion of the daily operational hours at the Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled and the increase of the number of days open from four to five.
- The introduction of disability assistance for children under the age of 16 years certified disabled who are not eligible for Invalidity Assistance or Disability Benefit from the National Insurance Board.
- Established an apartment for persons with disabilities in the Government Complex on East Street South (north of Robinson Road).