Christie Responds to Ingraham's national address

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News statement by Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie MP, Leader of the Opposition.

I am deeply disappointed that the Prime Minister took this long to address the nation and after all this time, left more questions than answers.

For some time now, the PLP and others have been calling for the Prime Minister to advise the country of the implications of the global economic crisis to the Bahamian economy and to the job security of Bahamians.

The impact of the crisis in the United States, our major tourist market, has led to unemployment and decreasing consumer spending.

This has led to the tourism industry in our country, the major employer, being in deep, trouble.

Many hundreds of Bahamians have already lost jobs and many hundreds more will lose their jobs.

Additionally, it is of deep concern to the Progressive Liberal Party, that the Prime Minister’s address seemed not to take into consideration the thousands of young Bahamians who have completed high school and colleges in 2007 and 2008 and those to come in 2009 who cannot find jobs. 

As a result of having no employment experience, these young Bahamians may not qualify for the unemployment assistance programme that the Prime Minister just announced.

This is a national dilemma of misery and hopelessness that must be comprehensively addressed by the government.

I wish to say a word about the announced unemployment benefit.

While we do not oppose any benefit to help the unemployed, no responsible party can accept a government programme for which no details have been supplied.

We wish, therefore, to call for the details to be supplied in the quickest possible time so that we are all certain that the National Insurance Fund is not adversely impacted; and that the programme is done in conformity with all applicable laws.

We believe that the statement of the Prime Minister did not provide the country with a way forward in a difficult time.

In addressing the nation on Monday, the Prime Minister was unable to provide that sense of hope for the Bahamian people.  Instead the country listened to him describe the problem without any clear sense of direction as to what we should do.

What was expected of the Prime Minister last evening; and what the Bahamian people did not get, was an answer to the question: where do we go from here?

The Progressive Liberal Party reiterates the call that it made several weeks ago for the convening by the government of a special meeting.

The meeting should comprise participants from all sectors of the economy with the aim of developing a comprehensive plan of action to address the problems afflicting the Bahamian economy.

It is only by calling on the intellectual capital of a broad cross-section of our country that we can develop the consensus and the “buy-in” that is required for any plan to be successful.

The people of the country were expecting specific ideas on how the mortgages will be settled for those who are unemployed.  They expected to hear what the are the long term investment prospects for the country; what kind of Christmas could they expect.

It was not simply good enough for the Prime Minister to say that the government is going to design a programme for the unemployed.

He ought to have said what his plan was.

On no less than three occasions, I have called for an economic summit.

The summit would bring to together the bright minds of our country from all sectors of the economy and all political persuasions.

I have also suggested that there are emergency measures that need to be taken in order to support homeowners and small business owners as well as emergency measures to keep people in jobs in the hotel sector.

None of these ideas were incorporated in the Prime Minister’s address.

In the over all sense then, the singular and most glaring omission of the Prime Minster is that he provided no sense of a need for national togetherness.  There was no call for bipartisanship.

In these extraordinary times that is the only way that we can move forward for the betterment of our country.

We in the PLP stand ready willing and able to assist.

We encourage all those who have ideas to come forward to assist.  In these times, all of us must contribute.

The Progressive Liberal Party stands ready to do its part and to co-operate fully with the government in such an endeavour.

It is unfortunate that the address by the Prime Minister broke no new ground.  Some have described it as a recitation of the causes of the problems that we face in The Bahamas, not a summons to action.

Many of these projects announced last night were capital development projects left in place by the PLP.   We think that public works projects would be one way to help stimulate the economy in this crisis.

Some of these projects left in place were subjected to undue delay by the present administration.

If they had been allowed to continue, they could have provided some cushion from the effects of the economic slowdown.

To now concede that these projects should be accelerated is a belated endorsement of the PLP’s policy of undertaking public works projects to drive the economy until the Foreign Direct Investment projects came on stream.

We again urge the government to ensure that as far as possible, the benefits of this government spending is shared among a large number of Bahamians and does not only benefit a few.

The Prime Minister himself referred to this crisis as being in uncharted waters.

There is no quick answer to this crisis.  Even the most knowledgeable and gifted financial analysts, he said, are not willing to gamble on its outcome.

In The Bahamas, we cannot afford to treat this crisis as a gamble.  Too much is at stake.

This must be about devising the best strategies to protect the national progress   That is why we in the PLP have always seen this crisis as requiring a bipartisan approach, led by the government, no different to what we see going on in the US today.

The country needs its best and brightest minds of whatever political belief, to advise on short and long term solutions to the challenges we now face.

That is why I now renew my call for a national conference on the economy to chart the way forward.

  • Drama King

    You all missed the point, Prime Minister had to wait on instructions from BP before he could address the nation…..tee hee

    For those who just tuned in, BP made the suggestion of the PM addressing the nation LONG TIME ago. Ingraham’s silence started to “look bad” and thats why he took BP’s advice and addressed the nation.

    He DOES NOT CARE…..repeat….HE DOES NOT CARE about anyone so addressing the nation on our crisis wasnt of importance to him.

  • Omar Archer Sr.

    hello Tristan, thank you for your kind words. Yes I am back and together we will make a difference. As for Kennedy over Mt. Moriah, thank you for your advice. Well said. I will truly consider your recommendation before my final decision is rendered. As for my injury, to God be the glory for great things he has done. Have a great day..

  • Tristan

    God is good. I just ask my friend the other day if there was an update on the progress of Mr. Omar Archer and here it is my good bahamian brother is here in action!! It is indeed good to have yo back. in the short term from January when I first noticed your argument on the Economy, i was indeed happy that we have someone here who will fight and also educate the common people. Anyone who is committed to its People deserves t serve in Parliament. Kennedy deserves good representation from a Man who can bring change to that Constituency. Mt. Moriah, tho is ot as bad as Kennedy is good too but i am not sure if Koed Smith is running again, even tho he was in a scandal, he was a good MP. he tried to educate them on how to provide for their families instead of the Handout routine that most FNM MPs do. So Mr Archer, ill go more with Kennedy.

  • Omar Archer Sr.

    I am truly humbled. Thank you.

  • Omar: it does not really matter which constituency you run in, you need to do some research on both area. Once you determine the one you can really make a difference in, you need to built a strong relationship of trust with the people in that community. People have been burned to often by politicians with empty promise and who would say anything to get in office, they need to know you are serious about representing them and you don’t make empty promises. People just need to know that you are committed to working for them to bring about the necessary changes for their area. Get feedbacks from residents and try to assist them with reasonable needs.

    The country needs some young politicians like you with new ideas on how to get us to the next level. We are so tired of all the disappointments and politicians who points finger at each other and nothing gets done and if they do a little something they want praise and worship. We are tired of going to the polls hoping for changes and the more things change, everything still remains the same. After reading what you said on Sunday, you sound like you see the whole picture and you really want to make a difference in our country. It is good to know we have persons like you interested in running in the next election.

  • Omar Archer Sr.

    What do you all want in an MP?

  • Omar Archer Sr.

    It’s time that we demand better for ourselves and our people.

  • Omar Archer Sr.

    What do you all want to see improve in your respective communities?

  • Omar Archer Sr.

    Let’s talk about programs, policies things that you would be willing to publicly protest for.

  • Omar Archer Sr.

    Hey guys! I had a great time at church on Sunday. Thank you Objective thought, Kim and Media for your warm welcomes. Okay guys I need your help with something. Last week I submitted my letter of intent to Hon. Perry Christie Chairperson of the candidate’s committee for the PLP to seek candidacy in either Kennedy or Mt. Moriah Constituency. Which one do you think I should choose and why?

  • Omar, you don’t play aroud at all..

    Say it loud and say it like you’re proud!!

    THey are playing with our heads..

  • Omar welcome back! This is my first time reading something that you have posted and I find it very refreshing. What you have shared with us, is something I have always wanted to say. I hope don’t mind me using your quote, but I think it is something that should stand out, I believe many people feel the same way. Really wish I could have made it bolder and larger, anyway I will just paste my favourite part of what you had to say:

    MP’s and cabinet ministers are living good while people suffer and endure hardship. When I spoke out in January and demanded an apology from Minister Laing, everyone said I was jumping the gun, things might get better. Now that things have gotten worst, they are all now attacking the FNM and making claims that I said in January that they did not support then. I am tired of these politicians and wanna be politicians playing games with my people lives. They must stop bullshiting the people. Both parties are guilty FNM and PLP. We need to be more real with ourselves and stop trying to collect political brownie points.

    You really hit the nail on the head and nobody could have said it any better. Omar, I really hope you enjoy your church service. Once again, it is good to have you back.

  • media

    Welcome Back OMAR!

  • Omar Archer Sr.

    I am going to church this morning guys blog later

  • Omar Archer Sr.

    I can recall from January this year when Minister Hon. Z. Laing said the Bahamian economy will grow by 4% in 2008 compared to same time last year. Months later during the budget debate Prime Minister Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham said the economy will grow by only 2%. Then just last month the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said the economy will grow by 1% a change from their initial prediction of 4%. Every loss of 1.5% represents a loss of 100 million dollars, therefore 3% would equate to 200 dollars in loss revenues. It was the FNM who squandered $340 million during the first six months of its administration, (220 from the federal reserve and 120 excess liquidity). WHAT WAS DONE WITH THESE FUNDS? MP’s and cabinet ministers are living good while people suffer and endure hardship. When I spoke out in January and demanded an apology from Minister Laing, everyone said I was jumping the gun, things might get better. Now that things have gotten worst, they are all now attacking the FNM and making claims that I said in January that they did not support then. I am tired of these politicians and wanna be politicians playing games with my people lives. They must stop bullshiting the people. Both parties are guilty FNM and PLP. We need to be more real with ourselves and stop trying to collect political brownie points. It was Hon. Perry Christie who brought this to the attention late last year. I picked up on it in January and now everyone is on the ban wagon. The FNM with the exception of Hon. Branville McCartney, Hon. Herbert Minnis and maybe Woodside, the FNM is a failure. Min. Hon. Tommy Turnquest is as lost as a bat on national security. May God help the Bahamas. It’s GREAT to be back…

  • GSM

    We are in TROUBLE here in the Bahamas. I think you need to become and extension of Dade County.

  • Sad to say, Hubert Ingraham is just as lost as the rest of us. He doesn’t even have a clue as to what actions would be appropriate to sustain our nation. Talk about a man with no vision. Nobody would be such a fool to suggest what is going on in the world is not serious, but nobody expects their leader to paint them a dark picture of hopelessness and despair either. We have trusted this man to leads us and we don’t mind him telling us what we are up against, but at the same time we want to hear some solutions as well. Look how bad the American economy is doing, but at least they saw a glimmer of hope in Obama and that is why they elected him. When people are already discourage and down in the dumps, they like to know how bad their situation is and they like for someone to shine a little light of hope on them.

  • Obama

    WOW! My brother we are in trouble. This guy and his assistant scare me. The PM is in trouble politically because he did not have access to better candidates before the election. I met with them recently, they are not businessmen. The Minister was munching on peanuts and picking his teeth, while discussing contracts and the other was playing with his glasses as though he just got them. They move their heads left and right as though they don’t fit properly even worst on Parliamentary Channel.

  • WOW!

    Ken Russell said they could have built a dozen more houses by the end of the year but the people was too picky talking ’bout they want kitchen AND bathrooms.

  • Obama

    “We the willing lead by the unknown are doing the impossible for the ungrateful, we have done so much with so little for so long, we are now qualify to do anything with nothing”.

  • john

    man don’t kill me this morning!

  • Obama

    The Minister of Housing just released a press statement; He has completed 6 houses now! He included that this number will increase to 9 by December 31. Brensil Rolle added that he consider this to be a milestone of an accomplishment, especially since the houses are 1 and 2 bedrooms.

  • Joe Blow, I actually agree with you 100%…..

  • Gofer

    PC’s speech was just a soft way of not hurting the present PM his friend. I think thats great. He needs to say things the FNM are not saying so that they can be pointed in the right direction. But of course the once powerful and witty PLP may be afraid of the FNM taking the credit. We are all in this together. God help us. We need change!

  • Mr. Christie is right in saying Mr. Ingraham could have addressed us sooner. I would hope that he would institute weekly “fireside chats” each week, say for 15 minutes. He could use one of these sessions to explain his unemployment scheme and just who may access the money and how to go about it. Also I would like to know just how those who are benefiting will pay back into the fund when times get better. We are all contributors, but I have saved my money for rainy days and I don’t want someone who spent theirs on “want things” instead of “need things
    to take advantage. They should have to pay back at least some if not all of what they receive over a period of time when things are better. Also they should be avaiable to do some community services.
    While we have to worry about graduating students perhaps the time has come to offer them some incentives to consider higher education and even training in a secondary field. Families with children must take preference over these youngsters, at this time. We also need to advertise all the free programs they can access to keep them occupied. Now is a good time to instil in our young the great joy that comes from helping others whose needs are greatr than our own.
    While the idea of bringing “good minds” together in a bi-partisan way is ideal, we must accept the fact that this is a crisis and action has to begin for some immediately. Mr. Christie himself should schedule a few talks where he puts forth his good ideas of the positive things he thinks should be happening. No blame or shame- no politicing, just good common sense, doable suggestions. He is quite capable of putting some positives before the people to bolster their spirits while not minimizing our dilema.

  • WOW!

    There is an old saying that goes,”talking loud but ain’t saying nothing”. Ingraham has now shown me what it means.

  • Professor

    Kim Sands, I totaly agree with you, Any logical persons who have been watching the internationl news would know that America’s economy has decreased, resulting with a budget defecit. And if our Mother is catching the cold why not us. Iam still not sure on what the Prime Minister said he going to do for the bahamian people, It is evident that we are not sure if this financial crisis would become deeper,it would not be known unitl the next 2 quaters.

  • What the Prime Minister had to say came as no surprise to many, we were already aware that the country is in a recession, the many workers being sent home everyday was a clear indication. All he did was confirmed that things will get much worse before it gets any better. He also pointed out we were doing better than some other countries, which is nothing new we have always done better than some other countries. If anybody was worrying about the economy before, the Prime Minister speech offered little hope and did very little to put one at ease.