RESPONDING TO THE PM ON GRAND BAHAMA ADDRESS DEC 18th 2010
December 19th 2010
STATEMENT: The PLP is convinced that the remarks in Grand Bahamas by the Prime Minister on Saturday last were not logical, reasoned and sober reflections by the Prime Minister. It appears to us that he may have been carried way with the Yuletide spirit and was not reasoning locally or sensibly.
We read carefully what he had to say in the official transcript that was issued by the Bahamas Information Services. Mr. Ingraham cannot be seriously threatening the jobs of workers in this country at time like this. The threats are obvious and direct at the workers at BTC. We condemn them and call upon Mr. Ingraham to enter into sincere dialogue with the trade unions. This is not politics. It is time for him to rise to the level of a statesman and stop acting the part of a political hack.
He said the following:
“But the truth of the matter is that for those who are employed at BTC and elsewhere in the public sector – I wish to caution them not to follow the current plans of the president of the NCTU and BCPOU; Ms. Dobson and Mr. Evans – because when you walk off your job, if you do, there is no guarantee that you can come back to that job – no guarantee.
“Jobs are scarce. Jobs are hard to find. And no one is able to stop you from cutting off your nose to spite your face; that is your face. But at the end of the day, you won’t have a nose – that is the judgment you can make.”
Mr. Ingraham and his party keep trying to poison the well by suggesting that the Unions are engaged in a political fight with him, with the PLP pushing a political agenda. If he wishes to turn it into a political fight that is his business, but the fact is the Unions have legitimate grievances which they are seeking to address by lawful means. It is unconscionable and reprehensible and just plain lousy of a Prime Minister to threaten people’s jobs and to try and mix the PLP up in his lame attempt to defend an indefensible policy. The PLP simply stands with the people and their legitimate concerns. No amount of propaganda can change the facts on the ground. The PLP simply stands for the people.
As for the following statement by the Prime Minister:
“The PLP, just before the last election, agreed to sell it to some person. Zhivargo [Laing] reminded me this morning that normally in The Bahamas, you find a Bahamian fronting for a foreigner. They agreed to sell to somebody who some people think were fronting for some of them.”
This statement is a well known untruth being peddled by the Free National Movement in its propaganda programme. Mr. Ingraham is being less than frank in this matter. If the Prime Minister is correct in his assertion of fronting, then his government has some explaining to do to the Bahamian people.
His government recently paid $1.9 million dollars to a foreign entity (plus significant legal fees), the company he now accuses of fronting. If the company was fronting why did the government pay the hard cash of the Bahamian tax payer to this foreign entity voluntarily. This was a penalty which the FNM agreed to pay to Bluewater the putative buyer of BTC’s minority interest because the FNM cancelled the deal. If the Prime Minister is correct that there was fronting then surely by logical reasoning then the FNM is now complicit in the fronting exercise by paying those who were fronting to end the deal.
There was no fronting. The Prime Minister must put up or shut up on this issue or stop his party from spinning this total and absolute lie. We call for him to put the entire file on the table and produce the evidence or cease and desist.
Another incredible statement by the Prime Minister was if he reduces the rates of cellular hundreds of people at BTC would be fired. Rates changes; falls within the preview of URCA ex PUC and not the government. Clearly the PM did not think that such a proposition through, as it was the then PUC who turned down BTC’s request to lower cellular rates to protect SRG.
We hope that in a period of sober reflection that the Prime Minister will rethink his views and provide the country with a more reasoned and considered approach to the public policy on this issue.