Pintard should be reminded how the government of Hubert Ingraham was a disaster to every Bahamian

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FNM bad policies helped wrecked our economy

Michael Pintard.
Michael Pintard.

Bradley B. Roberts
National Chairman
Progressive Liberal Party

All of the social and economic challenges Senator Pintard described in his diatribe were inherited by the PLP government in May 2012. That is an incontrovertible fact that the FNM cannot walk away from so mentioning them only reinforces the poor state the FNM plunged the country into before being kicked out of office in May 2012.

The unvarnished truth is that on both occasions when the PLP inherited the governance of this country from the FNM, the country was in terrible shape both economically and socially with high debt, high unemployment and mass social dislocation. And each time the PLP cleaned up the mess.

Under the first Christie administration, some 20,000 jobs were added to the economy, government revenue increased by 51% and $1.5 billion was added to the economy. Some observers were calling the meteoric turn around a miracle.

The FNM inherited a fiscal surplus in 2007 and wrecked the economy with bad policies that made the recession worse. Poor project execution, no new significant Foreign Direct Investment to stimulate the economy, unsustainable borrowing and poor revenue performance marred that shameful term in office; by 2012 the surplus was gone and replaced with a budget deficit in excess of $500 million.

The country’s tourism product performance plummeted to a twenty-five year low and unemployment doubled with more than 14,000 Bahamians joining the unemployment line under the governance watch of Pintard’s FNM government.

In just three short years under the watch of the PLP’s Government, more than 23,000 jobs were added to the economy, tourism has rebounded from a twenty-five year low and the government has managed to narrow the budget deficit with each passing year, carrying some $750 million of FNM-incurred debt along the way. This is an inconvenient fact that Senator Pintard and the FNM must accept.

In recognition of his stellar public service and strong leadership, our very own Minister of Tourism Hon. Obediah Wilchcombe was named the Caribbean’s leading Travel Personality of 2015 by World Travel Awards (WTA). This is an acknowledgement of his monumental contributions to the travel and tourism industry. I add my congratulations to him and the hard working staff at the Ministry of Tourism. The Bahamas won in a number of categories including best luxury destination.

I have said this before and I will say it again. If the government of The Bahamas had followed the policy advice (of oppose and do nothing) of the opposition FNM on critical and game changing issues such as tax reform and gaming reform, the country’s economy would have been destabilized; our entire financial system would have been blacklisted and the country would have found itself in the hands of the IMF – staring currency devaluation squarely in the face as a viable option. In short, the Bahamas would have crashed and burned a long time ago.

The fiscal policies of the Christie administration has to date averted a most certain collision course with catastrophe and has pulled this country from the edge of the fiscal cliff where the FNM pushed it due in part to ill-advised policies.

Every major key performance indicator for The Bahamas is trending better than the in indices were in May 2012. This is an inconvenient truth that the FNM must accept.

As for questions surrounding the VAT revenue, if Senator Pintard is incapable of finding and interpreting a simple budget presentation, then I was right. Indeed Pintard is in the wrong business and must return to full time comedy at once.