Why didn’t Papa do this before? Why now?

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Hubert Ingraham, Minister with responsibility for NIB.

Dear Bahamas Press,

When will my people begin to understand the Bahamian politician’s playbook? When will they realize that every Bahamian government, going back to the UBP, has employed the same election tricks over and over and over again? Like an abused woman, sometimes I wonder what will it take for my people to see that our politicians do not love them, nor feel obligated to look out for their best interests.

Men and women will do whatever necessary to get into the House of Assembly because of the perceived advantages and prestige they will receive. But when they actually make it, they realize that being a Member of Parliament or a cabinet minister is a lot better than they thought. They realize early on that if they play the game right, they can use their position of influence to help friends, family and lovers, all to the detriment to the rest of us.
Bahamian members of parliament knows that our people don’t want to be bothered with things or issues that doesn’t affect them or interfere with their daily lives. And what’s worse is these same politicians have mastered the art of making the issues this country face seem a lot more harder, complex and expensive then they really are. They have mastered the art of looking busy when in reality, they haven’t accomplish anything of significance. As a result of this, the Bahamas burns.

This brings me to the present Prime Minster and his 2011-12 budget presented in the House on Wednesday. When I heard Mr Ingraham go over the highlights of his budget, it was deja vu all over again. I watched him speak and thought to myself, not again. Let me explain.

Going back to 2007, there could have been only one reason why Mr Ingraham tried to kill Baha Mar, stopped, reviewed and cancelled so many projects his first few months in office. He bet that the recession would not last long or be very devastating economically.  He ignored all the data and went by his experience in 1992 when the recession that year was less than 18 months and the recovery that ensued under Bill Clinton, just so happened to be the greatest period of economic activity in American history. It was that wave that Mr Ingraham rode to a second term in office in 1997.

So Mr Ingraham thought 2012 would be a repeat of ’97 with the big finale being him riding off into retirement handing power over to Tommy T or some other FNM. In other words, he would get right in 2012 what he got so wrong in 2002. That was the plan.

But his calculations were off. Way off, and what has transpired over the last 3 years has proven one thing; in good weather, anybody can keep  the ship steady, but when your in a storm, you will find out just how steady a hand the captain has.

The fact is, Mr Ingraham’s economic policies during this recession has failed. His decisions were a day late and narrow minded. When his term is finished, he would have left the country with nearly two billion dollars in debt and bankrupt.

The last three budgets he presented to the House of Assembly have turned out to be wrong, dead wrong in its projections. The previous fiscal year’s budget projections was so off, that the following fiscal year, 2010-2011, Mr Ingraham was forced to levy the largest tax increase in Bahamian history on us. What that should tell the Bahamian people is that our Minister and Jr Minister of Finance have no clue.

Look at how bad Mr Ingraham and Sharvargo mismanaged the country’s finances:
The 2008-09 budget had a deficit of $440 million
The 2009-10 budget had a deficit of $588 million
The 2010-11 budget has a deficit of $521 million
That is $1.5 billion of debt that Mr Ingraham added to the national debt in 3 years and he still has a year left in this term as Prime Minister! As a result of Mr Ingraham’s bad fiscal management, the country’s financial rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor’s in 2009.

With this in mind, I wasn’t eager or interested in hearing what Papa had to say on Wednesday, but being a glutton for punishment, I tuned in; and my mouth hit the floor as he read the highlights of his budget. I just want to mention a few of them briefly:

Firstly, Mr Ingraham’s government will set aside $25 million for the National Job Readiness and Training Program where his government is looking to train around 3,000 Bahamians. I applaud Mr Ingraham for this, but this raises questions that has to be asked: Where is he getting that $25 million from? Will there be new taxes? Will he trim funds from other government departments that are already struggling to make up this $25 million? If so, which ones? Is that $25 million coming from the sale of BTC, where Mr Ingraham said that money will go to pay down the country’s debt?

This government also intends to offer subsidies to private sector companies that hire unemployed persons. Well,what I want to know is, where the hell were these subsidies last year or in 2009? Why wasn’t there any kind of employment subsidies in previous budgets since the recession started?

These two initiatives of the government are well intended, but they are 3 years too late. This bothers me because it seems to me that our leaders have chosen to act when its convenient for them and they can get the most political mileage out of it. This is so sad. Our brothers and sisters are hurting and Mr Ingraham decides to bring relief when he can benefit from it the most.

Isn’t it amazing how over the last 4 years Mr Ingraham and his cabinet seemed void of good ideas during the start and darkest days of the recession and now the closer we get to an election, he can come with with all sorts of stuff, lol?

You think some of our brothers and sisters on the Family Islands could have benefited from these programs a year or two ago rather than abandoning their home and being forced to come to New Providence to look for work? When people were being terminated, their power being cut off, banks foreclosing on their homes, Papa sat back and didn’t do much because he was bidding his time. And when he did do something, it was the result of public pressure being applied!

And for those who may say Mr Ingraham can do this now because the economy is turning around, I would love for you to show me evidence of that. You need an economic stimulus and there hasn’t been one for 4 years nor has the United States recovery been moving fast enough to have that much of an affect on the Bahamian economy as yet.

Fact is nothing has changed economically in the country in 4yrs, so why couldn’t Mr Ingraham do these same things years ago?

Don’t be fooled, these initiatives by Mr Ingraham are not about people. Mr Ingraham knew the people were suffering and could have done something sooner, but he obviously held off because he knew his party had nothing to show the people before the election and thus hold off on the “goodies” until election time. It has always been about trying to find a way to hold on to power and if it means letting the people suffer a bit, my brother, you better know Jesus, cause don’t look for Papa to bring you some relief when you need it most.

Another thing he highlighted was his intent for the Civil Service to hire 200 people, pay the Civil service their increments and “OPEN” the salary scales. Bahamas Press, my blood started to boil when I heard this! Where this man going to find all this dam money? The government is already projecting another deficit of $521 million for the current budget, so if the country is broke please tell me, P-L-E-A-S-E tell me, where will this Prime Minister find the money for all this?

There has been a freeze on the public service hiring going back to the Christie administration, and times were good then. So will someone explain to me why is he hiring now when the government is broker than Broke Back Mountain?

That’s $25 million for a training program, hiring another 200 civil servants. Then he wants to restart the increments and make them retroactive for the entire civil service? Plus he wants to “open” the salary scales too? Your talking another $30-$40 million right there. Looks like when Papa go, he is intent on leaving us like Papa Doc left Haiti, broke, broke, broke and in heavy debt!

I can’t believe that after raising my taxes so high, severely gutting the budgets of every government ministry, going on national television and telling the Bahamas that we all have to tighten our belts, that now, Mr Ingraham has abandoned these very words and is obviously gearing up for an election using the very same tax money that you and I had to struggle to pay.

But what this shows is how ineffective Mr Ingraham has been this lap. He knows he can not run on his record regarding the economy, crime, education, national security or immigration because his record royally sucks. So what is the next best thing to do with an election coming? IF THEY DON’T WANT TO GIVE YOU THEIR VOTE, BUY THE DAM VOTE!

It’s a political ploy that every Bahamian government plays, especially when they realize they are steering defeat in the eyes. They throw lots of money at you, hoping the money persuades you to vote for them. What’s sad is so none of Mr Ingraham’s highlights refer to crime, education, solving the backlog of cases, immigration, education or any other social ill. Its all about giving you more money, lol. How shallow and shortsighted!

It is so obvious that Mr Ingraham has deliberately held these initiatives in his back pocket just so he could play them now. I can see it now, Papa on the campaign trail talking about how he put so many Bahamians back to work on his training program, how he gave the civil service their increments. I hope to God Bahamians don’t buy it and see right through it because that is all he has to run on. He can’t run on anything else.

These fellas only care about keeping power? And if it means letting us hurt or suffer just so they could benefit for another five years of power, they will let me and you suffer.

The economic conditions have not changed much since 2008, so everything Mr Ingraham highlighted in his 2010-11 budget, what stopped him from doing it in 2008, 2009, or 2010?

Altec

  • Please look for a book entitled: Sent From Overseas by, Rudy Gurley. It may shed some light on what has been happening in our fair country with C&W and other stuff of interest.

  • I agree with ALLL OF THE ABOVE….

    I just was so baffled…Where the hell ALL of this money suppose to be coming from for this upcoming budget? I know papa tax the life outta the bahamian people last year and the BTC sale provided some moneys and we ain’t even sure about THAT because those Cable and Wireless people broke to… So on the real where this money for hiring, job training etc.. REALLY coming from….that sure sound like a lot of money to me.

    Oh I implore all of us to see this budget for what it really is. Take the jobs, the money and use the jobs skill training to the best of our advantage and at the end of the day Bahamian people let’s do to them what they have been doing to us for years pull the wool over this government’s eyes by VOTING THEIR *** OUT!!!!!

  • The FNM government is obviously between a rock and a hard place.For years this country has depended on the United States for its economic survival. Now, the U.S. is flat broke. I understand that America owes her creditors a whopping 14 trillian dollars. The unemployment rate is estimated to be around nine percent. This is not counting the millions who no longer are looking for a job, because they simply can’t find one.There are those who say that at least 45 million Americans are either uuemployed or underemployed. This then translates into fewer stopover tourists vacationing in the Bahamas. This is why it is so difficult for The Bahamas to get out of this financial recession. We depend heavily on America’s financial prosperity.The Prime Minister is doing all that he possibly can do under the present circumstances.I live in Freeport City.Things are bad here. It has been bad for nearly ten years.New Providence appears to be doing well. The FNM has done well in keeping Nassau’s economy vibrant. The 2011/2012 budget that PM Ingraham laid on the table of the House has its faults.But at least the government is trying to help struggling Bahamians during this recession.I appreciate the help. We must understand that it isn’t easy to manage the economy of a nation,especially during a recession.This country has been in debt since the Pindling years.It is nearly impossible for this country to satisfy its entire debt. We have about 25000 persons employed by the government. Over half the nation’s revenue goes toward the salaries for all these workers. The government should seriously consider downsizing when the economy picks up. This no doubt will cause quite a stir among many Bahamians. However,we must face the fact that the government is simply overstaffed. The government also should consider reducing the pensions of retired parliamentarians. Some of them are making close to ten grand a month.This country simply cannot continue paying out that kind of money. It is just too unsustainable. In the last analysis, our national debt, which is fast approaching the 4 billion dollar mark, will never be paid off unless the government tightens its belt.

    • media

      Kevin, do you know the national crisis could have been avoided? Laing said we were in NO recession in November of 2007. Do you want us get the tape? They stopped, Reviewed and cancelled thousands in Capital Development WOrks that same year tripping down the economy like that thief on Bank Lane yesterday. Then, unashamedly, they delivered to the Bahamians people deficit after deficit budgets since 2007 to this day; with the present budget reaching a deficit of over $241 million. We are mortgaging off our children future! THAT RECORD KEVIN IS NOT SUCCESSFUL LEADERS, THIS IS THE EPITOME OF FAILED LEADERSHIP!

      WE MUST CHANGE OUR COURSE!

      BP

    • .

      Kevin Evans: I live in Freeport City.Things are bad here. It has been bad for nearly ten years.New Providence appears to be doing well. The FNM has done well in keeping Nassau’s economy vibrant.

      Keith, first off, you say New Providence is doing well? My brother let me tell you right of the bat, things are not much better here. It’s rough down here!

      You say the PM has done a good job keeping New Providence’s economy vibrant? Please stop talking foolishness. Give me an example of something he did to accomplish this?

      And if you think he has done a good job keeping New Providence’s economy vibrant during this recession, then why the hell aren’t you pissed that he has only focused on New Providence and not any other island, especially Grand Bahama who, as you claim, has been suffering for 10 years?

      New Providence has been hard hit as well. All of those hotel jobs your talking about, where do you think most of those lay offs took place? Right here is New Providence.

      Stop being a party loyalist, you will be able to “see” better!
      .

      Kevin Evans: The 2011/2012 budget that PM Ingraham laid on the table of the House has its faults.But at least the government is trying to help struggling Bahamians during this recession.I appreciate the help.

      You have obviously missed the point of my letter to the editor. The issues I raised was simple; why didnt the PM do things like this 2-3 years ago when Bahamians was suffering then? Why wait until election time to hand me a band aide when you have ignored my bleeding condition for years?

      Can’t you see the move he made was deliberate? Can’t you see that he held of on these initiatives until he could get maximum political benefit from them?

      His actions should speak volumes to you, but you cant see it cause your to busy defending him and it clouds your judgment.
      .

      Kevin Evans: We must understand that it isn’t easy to manage the economy of a nation,especially during a recession.This country has been in debt since the Pindling years.It is nearly impossible for this country to satisfy its entire debt.

      Bullsh**! Every country has debt. The issue is how countries manage their money (fiscal policy) and the degree to which that country can create enough economic activity to manage or cover its level of debt.

      Under Pindling the ability of the Bahamas to sustain its debt was NEVER, NEVER a concern. When Pindling left office in 1992, the country had roughly $1 billion in debt and most of that was to NIB. In 20 short years, it has been tripled. Who do you blame for that?

      Do you want to know when the IMF starting warning the Bahamas about its debt situation? That’s right, in Mr Ingraham’s second term.

      Fact is, Mr Ingraham’s record on fiscal matters is poor. The man borrows money as if he doesn’t have to pay it back. And what is worse, most of that money he borrowed went to paving roads and building side walks. None of it went to building or making better any existing institutions!

      Wake up my brother, wake up.
      .

      Kevin Evans: We have about 25000 persons employed by the government. Over half the nation’s revenue goes toward the salaries for all these workers. The government should seriously consider downsizing when the economy picks up. This no doubt will cause quite a stir among many Bahamians. However,we must face the fact that the government is simply overstaffed. The government also should consider reducing the pensions of retired parliamentarians. Some of them are making close to ten grand a month.This country simply cannot continue paying out that kind of money. It is just too unsustainable. In the last analysis, our national debt, which is fast approaching the 4 billion dollar mark, will never be paid off unless the government tightens its belt.

      My brother, have you seen what the governments in Europe and the state governments in the U.S.A. have done during this recession?

      With revenues plummeting, they 3 had a choices:
      1) Cut services
      2) Raise taxes
      3) Lower government expenses, mainly payroll. The pensions were not that big an issue.

      You know what almost all those countries did? They cut services and reduced their civil service. Have you have forgotten already all of that rioting in Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, France and the UK over the last 3 years?

      But guess what Papa did? He did the exact opposite. In the 2009-10 budget, he trimmed some services and raised taxes. In the 2010-2011 budget guess what, he maintained the same level of services as the previous year but increased taxes across the board again to ungodly levels.

      During recessionary times, raising taxes is the last thing governments want to do, but Papa did that. How can you tax people for more money, when they dont have it?

      What your failing to miss is that when the man your defending had an opportunity to do what you are calling for and want most other governments did, he chickened out because he was thinking about getting reelected and not about the future financial stability of the country.

      And now he is coming right back with this 2011-2012 budget, throwing money around that he doesn’t have and can’t afford right now.

      I have said many times on this blog that the civil service needs to be reduced by a fourth and the reality now is this; if during the worst economic down turn since the great depression wasn’t enough to get the government to reduce the civil service, then it is never going to happen.

      The government is broke and the path that we are on will lead to the degradation of the Bahamian way of life and the devaluation of our currency!

  • Papa and that lying Mona vie man take us for a bunch of Jack@$$es. It will not be like the last time when they told us it’s was a matter of trust, we already see how far that got us. Some people found themselves fumbling around in the dark and knocking over candles and lanterns, now they living on the streets, because who didn’t burn the house down, the bank reprocessed it. Papa disconnected so many people lights, then pretended to care for them for a little while by setting up some kind of payment plan for them, just when they started to believe he had a interest in them and they begin to trust him, that’s when they realized that he couldn’t be trusted. Right after that, he throw all those heavy taxes on them, they couldn‘t even catch their breath. Now, not only people don’t have electricity in their home, some of them don’t even have homes or jobs anymore, plus they are no longer in any position to feed or provide for themselves or their families. Simple things that were once looked at as the bare necessity of life, is now considered a privilege. If that wasn’t enough, that shameless Mona Vie man who’s in need of plenty prayers came on the TV bragging and looking proud about amount of taxes they were applying to the Bahamian people, when he knew full well they couldn’t handle it and it was hurting them. Now he and Papa come up with this election budget and looking all cocky like only them two have sense and we stupid enough to forget all the suffering we been through these last 4yrs. I hate to burst their bubbles, but aint nobody stupid enough to put their trust in them again. Everybody know they don’t care about nobody and if that Mona Vie man lie on you, you would need to go in the Jordan River to wash it off, that’s how serious he is.

  • For the life of me I can’t understand why the Leader and MP’s of the FNM would insult the intelligence of the Bahamian people. Do they really think we are so naïve to believe that what is proposed in the 2011/2012 Budget debate is going to convince voters that they are the party of choice in the next general election? Give me a break man! Do they really think that Bahamians are so stupid that we would just follow them down the voting booth path and be reelected to power AGAIN! Many Bahamians I have spoken to in Grand Bahama are sick and tired of the rhetoric from all politicians. Many adults and youth are just plain fed up with political gamesmanship! The political leaders of this country need to develop a real 21st Century National Economic Program for the Bahamas. The only way this can be done is to have a government that can coalesce and move the nation forward with measurable results. I am sick and tired of being one of thousands of Bahamians who have valuable skill sets to help build this nation but are denied the opportunity because our families were not politically, socially or born into a financially well-connected family. This insanity must stop! I pray that the DNA wins the next election. I don’t care if they make a few mistakes along the way. It would be natural for them to do so. What many Bahamians really want to see is REAL CHANGE for REAL PEOPLE who have been suppressed, oppressed and depressed for too long.

  • Just like a knight in shining armor
    From a long time ago
    Just in time I’ll save the day
    Take you to my castle far away

    If the Bahamian electorates want to see Papa as their knight in shining armor, that their rights. I know one thing, when you care about people you don’t watch them suffering for 4years, now all of a sudden with election looming in the air, you just realize that you have the ability to save them, because you now need their votes. Well that don’t sound like no knight to me, it want sound more like a sucker. What you don’t understand, whatever they give us, it’s not theirs to give, plus we are the ones that will have to pay it back later. Do not bend down to these politicians, they don’t care about you; they only want what you can give them, after that they will kick you to the curve. Show these politicians you know better and you are not a bunch of mindless zombies, that will follow them regardless to how they treat you.

  • Brethern,

    Check your math…the National Debt of the Bahamas is OVER 4 BILLION DOLLARS AND GROWING!!!!!!!!!

  • Johnny Boy

    Good Points Altec Its a POLITRICKS budget, to try win the election and fool the masses !!! even a blind man can see it !!

  • we will see if bahamains really like bad treatment come election day this man truly take us for a bunch of blind ass hole. those people sleeping in cars light off homes get take by the bank for the last 4yrs and now election around the corner this don’t care fnm can find money all of a sudden well i say take the money and hall-ass they used btc money to fund they party ing-rum knows with money insight people won’t remember all the shit he say and do… sad bahamas.

  • wow. what an insightful look at things! thank you sir, this is just reinforcing my decision NOT to vote for them!