Branville McCartney Makes Statement on Government Press Conference…
The Prime Minister and his cabinet on Tuesday assembled the country’s press core to witness the latest PLP back patting exercise.
In what was clearly a disorganized attempt to placate the disgruntled electorate, this administration did everything but take responsibility for their failures since taking office in 2012; choosing instead to blame the media for the criticisms levied against them. The local dailies last week quoted the Deputy Prime Minister who wrongfully accused the press of ‘fanning the flames of discontent’.
The Deputy PM’s comments are not only an insult to members of the media, but a slap in the face of the public to whom members of the press also have a responsibility. Rather than embracing the role of the press in the development of our democracy, this Christie administration was again defensive, and unwilling to definitively address the country’s lingering concerns about major issues.
While members of the public were anticipating details about the government’s plans to move the country forward, what they got instead were the vague, unclear ramblings of a government with no ideas, a weak legislative agenda and an inflated sense of accomplishment.
On the issues of the economy and job creation, the Prime Minister repeated the same feeble and visionless commentary which he offered nearly two years ago. How sad it is, that in the 21st century, the age of technology and information, this country’s leaders’ plans for economic recovery are to rely on another hotel!
To the Prime Minister, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) says: Bahamians can do more than work in hotels. While such developments have their place in our tourism based economy, we, the people, can no longer afford to wait for a new hotel investor to save our economy. Where are the plans for diversification which were promised on the campaign trail? Where are the entrepreneurial opportunities for young people? Where are the new industries? Certainly a responsible government, who claimed to be ready on day one, would have bigger and brighter ideas for the future!
On the issue of crime, this administration has been an equally dismal failure. In the wake of killing sprees and gun violence among young men in the inner cities of New Providence in recent weeks, it was concerning to hear the Minister of National Security declare that crime is down. It is obvious that he has had no conversations with the police who investigate new cases of murder, armed robbery, and other serious crime DAILY!
While deflecting questions about their obvious failures on the economic and crime fronts, issues like Value Added Tax (VAT) remain as much of a mystery today as it did when it was first proposed. Even after consulting with international tax experts, this government offered no indication of where the country was headed in that regard.
The Christie cabinet further sidestepped questions regarding the proposed constitutional referendum while confirming plans to move ahead with web shop legalization; a matter which was decided by a vote during the botched gaming referendum on January 28, 2013. Where are their priorities?!
This administration must spend less time patting itself on the back for mediocre accomplishments and start focusing on the business of the country. Rather than tout its outdated anchor project policies, this administration must put renewed focus on educating Bahamians in a way that prepares them to take advantage of the changing world environment and equips them to compete regionally and internationally as well.
Instead of sugar coating the country’s crime problems this administration must face them with a renewed sense of vigor and commitment.
While Mr. Christie may be pleased with his government’s performance, the public is not! Already, two years of this term has been effectively wasted by this administration’s lack of focus. The DNA calls on the government to begin the process of addressing the country’s pressing issues SOONER rather than later.