Mass Rally of PLP Supporters at Clifford Park on May 1st, 2007.
by Glenys Hanna Martin, Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party on the first year of Free National Movement governance.
The performance of this Free National Movement government over the past year has been mediocre and lukewarm and in many instances utterly neglectful.
They have fallen well short of the trust they invoked prior to May 2nd, 2007.
The Bahamas today are facing a number of serious issues which threaten our quality of life.
These are, without a doubt, serious times.
Serious crime is being committed at unprecedented levels.
The homicide rate is steadily inclining. The gruesome statistics are growing on a weekly basis. Violence perpetrated by children in and around schools, including homicide, is now a familiar feature of our social landscape. In this year alone, apart from the numerous violent offences of stabbings and other serious personal injuries, two high school students have violently lost their lives on or around school campuses .
A debilitating side effect of these statistics is the widespread fear of crime far too many citizens are now forced to live with, even within the confines of their own homes .
And today we are now seeing warning signals of never before seen and very disturbing trends in criminal behaviour even amongst children.
Despite this serious state of affairs and in the echo of extravagant campaign promises by the Free National Movement, including the pledge to bring crime under control, very little action and no serious initiative has to this day been demonstrated by this government in response to this social upheaval.
Today, the cost of living is rising steadily. Food shortages and diminished access to food has become a worldwide phenomenon and here in the Bahamas, we too have been affected. The rising cost of food continues to negatively impact the general population and in particular, poor people in the Bahamas.
Yet, astonishingly, there has been little more than a bare acknowledgement by this government that our people are beginning to suffer in a most fundamental way.
There has been no action, no policy intervention, nothing which would seek to address this critical issue particularly as it relates to breadbasket items.
It is almost as if this government lives in another world completely divorced from the dire realities that our population face daily.
In the last year, parliamentary time has not been used in a manner one would expect, having regard to the serious issues our country faces.
There has been no sense of urgency and quite frankly, more and more people are forming the conclusion on a daily basis that this government is in over its head and has been unable, to date, to demonstrate the responsiveness and creative initiative to address any one of the issues that are causing Bahamians to have concern for the direction their country is going in.
And in the face of an apparent inability to exercise governmental power to ameliorate the hardships we face even as it relates to public safety, this government has in a most brazen fashion, used governmental power to stop contracts legitimately and duly executed by a previous administration in the course of its governance and in the letting go of so many Bahamians employed in government agencies.
And in this regard, all eyes will be on the 45 employees of the urban renewal programme in Grand Bahama and their fate over the next few days.
We are also closely watching the hirings by this government in the midst of the firings.
The Free National Movement has come to office ill- prepared to govern.
There appears to be no understanding of what is required to move the country forward .
And in the meantime, we seem defenseless as a people in the face of crisis.