Bradley delivers as PLP Stallwarts Event in GB…

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PLP Chairman, Bradley Roberts

Remarks
By
Bradley B Roberts
National Chair
Progressive Liberal Party

Installation Banquet Stalwarts Freeport Grand Bahama
November 19th 2011

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen; I am delighted to join our Party’s Leadership and fellow PLP’S this evening and wish to warmly congratulate the latest group of brave fighters and front-line soldiers who are being inducted into the august body called Stalwart Councilors.

Their untiring fight for social and economic justice, coupled with their loyalty to the ideals and tenets of the Progressive Liberal Party, make them most worthy of our party’s highest honor.

I welcome you, the latest class of inductees into the Stalwart Council, and I am confident that you will continue to drive the policies of this party and keep this great organization relevant in this fickle and dynamic political environment. Our party deserves no less.

It is noteworthy that the primary battlefield of Grand Bahama, claimed by some to be “FNM COUNTRY,” has severely tested your faith and strengthened your courage over many years!! You have indeed stood the test of time and the Progressive Liberal Party is infinitely stronger as an organization, as a result of your commitment.

My Brother and Sisters, these past four years and eight months have been very challenging, painful and difficult for you, your families and friends – due mainly to a lack of vision and incredible poor mismanagement of the economy by the FNM Government. As you are aware the General Elections will be held early next year and shall provide the opportunity to return your Progressive Liberal Party to governance. Your Party will shortly present its vision and a progressive plan to revitalize the economy of Grand Bahama with employment for Bahamians as its highest priority. I especially welcome your continued support for your Progressive Liberal Party and that of your family, friends and acquaintances.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to back up my very strong charge of mismanagement and wastage of public funds and to give examples of shameful mismanagement by the FNM Government, inclusive of Hubert Ingraham, Neko Grant, Kenneth Russell and Zhivargo Laing.

Many here in Grand Bahama often remind me that things in Freeport begun to go downhill after Hubert Ingraham expressed his wish for Sir Jack Hayward and the Family of the late Edward St George to sell their shares in the GBPA to Hutchison Whampoa and the strong rebuttal was it would take place over Sir Jack’s dead body. This impasse has brought tremendous hurt and pain to the people of Grand Bahama.

Health care is a major concern in our Country! This concern distresses me deeply as there are many reports of Bahamians dying because of their inability to access proper health care – simply because they and their families lack the required funds to access it. Perry Christie’s Government introduced and passed legislation for National Health Insurance, which was supported by the then Opposition. We now know it was for political expediency, as you will recall that on immediately returning to office, the FNM turned its back on NHI claiming it was too expensive.

In light of this and your pressing need for health care facilities, Hubert Ingraham caused a $19 million 65,000 sq. ft. Government Administration Complex to be built here in Freeport. Neighboring the new complex is the former BTC building which I am told is practically empty. There was clearly no need to expend scarce tax-payers money on a new Government Building, when even a blind man can see that vacant buildings are a dime a dozen in Grand Bahama. Many have told me that nepotism was the order of the day behind the “gussiemae” contract award – as the Prime Minister wanted to give a contract to his cousin Fletcher McIntosh of FES Construction Co Ltd.

Hubert’s priority is to build an administration building rather than a new hospital – after reneging on his NHI commitment to Grand Bahamians.

My Brother and Sisters, Hubert Ingraham is clearly a freak for buildings. In Abaco he caused a $19.6 million 64,390 sq. ft. Government Administration Complex to be built in a hole – when there was no need for one. The rationale – he wanted to give a contract to the young Bahamian firm – Woslee Construction – whom Hubert took the Straw Market Contract from, without logic or justification, wasting millions of dollars – and now need to pay back for his folly.

What happened to the straw market as a result of this waste of millions? He ended up giving straw vendors a market that is 20% the size of what makes sense for current and future usage but costs $5 million more than the original price budgeted for by the PLP.

You the People of Grand Bahama cried out for a Hospital but Hubert said NO! He built an office complex instead that, I repeat, was not needed. Hubert Ingraham and the FNM clearly did not and do not put the interests of Bahamians first. Abaco has being crying for a Mini Hospital… but Hubert gives them an administration building.

No one can accuse Hubert Ingraham of not being brazen and bold in taking care of family as he has moved with great speed to give his cousin Fletcher McIntosh of FES Construction yet another fat-cat contract, despite him not being the lowest bidder. The FNM, under the direction of Hubert, also awarded $27.3 Million fat-cat contract to Fletcher McIntosh for Marsh Harbour’s Airport Terminal Building & Tower.

My fellow Bahamians and PLP’s… if only Hubert can show the same regard for the average Bahamian or business person that he clearly shows for his ‘favoured’ cousin Fletcher…our country and Grand Bahama will not be in the dire straits it is in today.

Hubert Ingraham accused the PLP of executing contracts months before the elections and condemned the PLP for so doing. But lo and behold – look at the size of the contracts he has executed left right and center here in Grand Bahama, Abaco and in Nassau in just the past few weeks. This clearly makes the PLP look like Sunday School Children.

Hubert Ingraham and the FNM are borrowing monies like drunken sailors and have no concern on how these loans will be repaid; he is only concerned with winning – at all costs. No wonder why the various international agencies continue to downgrade the Bahamas.

Khallis Rolle the next MP for Pinewood in an e-mail to me describes it best when he said, under the FNM: “Roads are more important than acceptable health-care and the building of Hospitals in New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Family Islands”.

They should have delivered on their ‘politically expedient’ commitment to NHI, built the hospital – then focused on the roads and lining the pockets of his deputy.

Hubert Ingraham and the FNM clearly have a road plan, a turtle plan, a dog plan, a shark plan; a dredging plan…..Where is the people plan?

Based on my observations, we will not get the quality roads we anticipate when all is said and done. In 3 years, the roads will be pot-holed and dug-up again. Are we going to borrow more money to fix them again?

I take that question back…..The FNM is already seeking to borrow money from the IDB to dig up the roads again – in a major way – for water transmission line replacement for WSC. This should have been coordinated with their road plan, as this plan was on the table since 2008. If and when this loan is executed, we will be paying double debt – as a result of improper planning and greed. Or do I dare say greed (first) and improper planning!

What is the life of the loan and specific repayment terms? We know that the original loan is dated back to their last term in office 2001, which indicates that they returned to office to finish what they started. They had no desire to deal with what is clearly priority and needed now – in a down economy. I equate this to borrowing money to build a house in Lyford Cay but getting a shack in Liberty City Miami. We will still have to pay this ‘Lyford Cay’ mortgage every month.

The FNM did quite a bit of work on roads. My question is… on whose behalf?

Mr. Chairman, I would ask that question.

WHERE IS THE PEOPLE’S PLAN??

If I borrowed the large sums of money on behalf of the people, I should at least have a people’s plan!

With the proceeds from the sale of BTC, we paid for a disastrous road project and ignored the plight of many poor people who don’t have cars and frankly don’t really care about roads.

4 years and eight months of working on the wrong plan does not equate to people success!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have come to the conclusion that Hubert Ingraham has become a human wet match! He has lost the fire, the sparkle, he has no vision. His interest is not aligned with the interest of the poor and the middle class. It is time for Hubert and the FNM to go.

It is time for the return of Perry Christie and the PLP whose track record of progress and success, during the period 2002 to 2007, speaks for itself. That was when we had real employment and positive growth in the economy. Crime and the fear of crime during that time were controllable.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I could go on for hours giving examples of mismanagement by Hubert Ingraham and why he has earned the low status of being a human wet match. I am certain you can cite more examples than I can and I am equally certain you may have a better description of his low status.

I urge all PLP’s to become personally involved in the campaigns of our dynamic Candidates – Obie Wilchcombe, Julian Russell, Tanisha Tynes, Greg Moss and Dr Michael Darville. These candidates will lead the charge to restoring the economy and the generating employment in Grand Bahama and Bimini.

I wish all of you good health and bid you God Speed; and may God continue to bless the Progressive Liberal Party and The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.