Bradley B. Roberts
National Chairman – Progressive Liberal Party
At the official opening
PLP Bamboo Town Constituency Headquarters
East Street South
December 3rd 2011
Party Leader and Mrs. Christie,
Deputy Leader and Mrs. Davis,
Honorable Senators and Members of the House of Assembly,
National Party Officers,
Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be here this evening and extend a special welcome and a pleasant good evening to all.
We meet in Bamboo Town on this balmy evening at a time when our nation it at its lowest ebb since the Great Depression. The theme for the Bamboo Town campaign: “BAMBOO, IT’S ABOUT YOU” is indeed very timely. Politics is local and during these past four and one half years the lives of too many Bahamians have been traumatized, marginalized and turned upside down. The level of terror, hopelessness and despondency continue to grow at an alarming rate.
Hubert Ingraham and the FNM have been a disaster for the Bahamas. Hubert and the FNM have not been able to attract any significant foreign investors in the past 4 ½ years but on the other hand has earned the dubious distinction of presiding over the dethronement of Sir Sol Kersner as the owner of Atlantis Hotel. Yes the once very powerful Sol Kersner went bankrupt on Hubert Ingraham and the FNM watch and Atlantis now has new owners.
The simply reality is the Bahamas today is just barely keeping its head about water as a result of the projects initiated by Perry Christie’s PLP Government.
Hubert Ingraham and the FNM have gone made with borrowing and have driven the National Debt to some $4.5 Billion and the debt continues to grow day by day.
The Government is clearly clueless as to what to do about the devastating deteriorating conditions in this country, especially our second largest population center, Grand Bahama.
Whilst other Caribbean Countries in the region are experiencing growth in tourism; important stopover visitors to the Bahamas continues to decline. This is terrible news for jobs in our no one industry.
Unemployment has skyrocketed for Bahamians while large numbers of work permits are given to foreigners for jobs Bahamians are qualified to do. Yet the Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette is shameless and brags about the revenue generated from these work permits. Clearly for the FNM it’s not about you, they are not putting you first.
Crime and the fear of crime is sapping away the very life and spirit of the Bahamian people. Paving every road in New Providence will not create a safer Bahamas. The PLP expresses grave concern over an emerging criminal trend in this country where two women were found dead in the Fox Hill area. There is an escalation in violence against young women. Crime in the inner city has driven the Mighty Saxon Super Stars to move Junkanoo practice from Saxon Park to Gladstone Road. The Minister of Health can tell you of his recent horrifying experience.
The high level of unemployment has turned many families’ lives upside down. Many families have lost their homes, lost their cars; many are being chased by banks for credit card debts, many are homeless, many have lost direction and some have turned to crime.
A gut wrenching and sad story that underscores the heartless nature of the FNM government was the recent eviction of a single mother and her six children by the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation. Chairman Dr. Duane Sands justified the government’s decision by saying that she was in arrears. The policy of the PLP is that government should not put people out in the streets because the role of government is the care and protection of human life and to look after their well-being.
The PLP was quick to point out that in addition to mortgage insurance, the Bahamas Government spends millions annually providing health and educational services to illegal immigrants, but finds it acceptable to displace a Bahamian family at their lowest point and most vulnerable state; this act by the state is duplicitous and simply cannot be right.
Tonight I reiterate the Progressive Liberal Party’s demand that in the name of decency, the FNM Government immediately cease and desist from this cold-hearted and barbaric practice of dragging Bahamian families and especially children out onto the streets. Please, show compassion during these extraordinarily difficult times. If the consciences of the Members of Prime Minister Ingraham’s Cabinet don’t convict them to allow our Bahamian brothers and sisters to stay in their houses, then at lease find temporary housing for them. Clearly Dr. Duane Sands, a heart surgeon, just like his boss does not have a heart.
Ladies and gentlemen, there is no question that the FNM made the recession worse: they raised taxes when other governments were looking to protect citizens from bad times; they delayed or cancelled projects for political reasons, leading to lost jobs and lost economic stimulus; they have never had a vision for empowering Bahamians except the chosen few.
The middle class was devastated under this government; thousands continue to live without electricity; thousands more were relegated to welfare lines and the misery index is off the charts. The PLP Government lowered the cost of electricity; the FNM ran BEC into bankruptcy and has increased the cost electricity.
The poorly executed road works exacerbated an already bad situation, destroying many small and medium businesses and making life unbearable for the motoring public. The needless huge cost overruns of the current road works due to the gross incompetence of the FNM government will amount to some forty millions dollars that will be placed on the backs of an already burdened taxpayer.
Ladies and Gentlemen in our Bahamas today sadly today it’s about what Hubert Ingraham and the FNM wants and in reality it’s not about you or I. A new PLP government will put Bahamians and their needs first and we will focus on attacking crime at its core and restoring peace, love and progress. The process will be about you, because unlike the current government, we believe in the Bahamas, and we believe in Bahamians.
Every Bahamian has the right to feel safe in their home, workplace and at play. In addressing scourge of crime and violence, our Project Safe Bahamas proposal represents a holistic approach to fighting crime: prevention, prosecution, punishment and rehabilitation. Project Safe Bahamas was created in consultation with law enforcement experts, clergy, community leaders and concerned citizens. This should come as no surprise because the Progressive Liberal Party has a history of pioneering innovative and successful anti-crime programmes; Urban Renewal won international recognition and awards, and — most importantly — support from Bahamians.
Ladies and gentlemen, a certain candidate in Bamboo Town was a party to many of the failed FNM policies that has placed the Bahamas in the present sorry state. For more than four years, Branville McCartney voted with the FNM to raise your taxes, cut subventions to church schools and non-profit organizations and line the pockets of cronies and special interests. He agreed with Hubert Ingraham to play petty politics with Grand Bahama while Bahamians suffered. This same Bran now asks you to vote for him to become your Prime Minister.
The story surrounding Bran is interesting you know. Months after Branville was locked out of the cabinet room after a disagreement with the Prime Minister and forced to resign; you will recall Branville went on for months claiming that Ingraham was the best man to lead this country.
Branville apparently woke up one morning and the devil must have said to him, “You know Bran, you should be Prime Minister.” And there you have the DNA in a nutshell; a self- appointed leader and hand-picked candidates and some have already fallen by the wayside. There are no founding principles, ideals, stated purpose or tenants upon which the organization is built. The DNA is driven by Branville McCartney’s blind ambition to be Prime Minister because of his lust and thirst for power. THAT CANNOT BE THE FOUNDATION OF A POLITICAL PARTY. So I say to you tonight brothers and sisters that THE DEVIL IS A LIAR.
The PLP offers both experienced leaders and a new generation; we have innovative ideas to address the nation’s most pressing problems and the energy and expertise to see them implemented.
Renward Wells represents that new generation of leaders. Bamboo Town, you have in Renward the consummate family man with strong Christian principles, unflinching faith and one who genuinely cares for his community. As a world-class athlete, he represented the Bahamas with distinction on the world stage. His commitment to family life and quality education has led him to be one of the driving forces behind home schooling movement in the Bahamas.
Professionally, Renward has fought tirelessly for greater recognition and legitimacy for local engineers and technical persons. I personally know of Renward’s attributes as he served in the MOW during by five year tenure as Minister. Many lives, especially the young, have been positively impacted by Renward and we are proud to have him as a member of our team.
It is because of his personable qualities, leadership and sincerity that he is a very attractive candidate and a formidable opponent to the FNM.
He is our man to return Bamboo Town to the fold of the PLP and to send tired and ideologically bankrupt FNM into the political wilderness. So as I have done in Abaco and elsewhere across this vast archipelago, I appeal to all under the sound of my voice who have not yet registered, to do so without delay because you cannot bring about a change if you are not registered.
We are in a race against time and must act as a matter of urgency. There is no substitute for a door-to-door campaign as the election will be won in the homes of the constituents. We must consistently communicate the ideals, values and the message of our party to the voters to win their hearts and minds.
Ladies and gentlemen I repeat what I said earlier. Paving every road in New Providence won’t make one iota of difference for a safer and securer Bahamas. The interests and wellbeing of the people of the Bahamas must always come first. It must always be about you my brothers and sisters. It’s time for a Government that puts Bahamians first, not special interest. It’s time for a Government that believes in the Bahamas. God bless the Bahamas and Good Night.