Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party, the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie pledged a clean campaign from the PLP’s side whenever the bell is rung for general elections.
Mr. Christie was the keynote speaker at the first rally in the South West New Providence area in Golden Gates. You may read the full text of Mr. Christie’s speech below the video clip.
REMARKS BY THE RIGHT HONOURABLE PERRY G. CHRISTIE PARTY LEADER AT RALLY Gambier House 8th March 2011
We need to define the core values – the guiding principles, if you like – of the campaign the PLP will conduct in the forthcoming General Elections which I continue to believe will be called sometime later this year. Indeed the campaign for the next General Election has, in a real sense, already begun!
So, let me take advantage of this opportunity to be as clear and direct as I can possibly be: this forthcoming election cannot be – and will not be – fought by the PLP on the basis of foolishness! We are not in the business of character assassination. Vicious gossip or malicious gapseed is not for us! We are not in the business of smear tactics or slanderous innuendo. We will leave that to those other fellas! And we most certainly are not in the business of corrupt electioneering. We will leave that to the other fellas too! We saw enough of what should not have been done in the Elizabeth Bye-Election last year to know that that is not the way to go.
We cannot build our country that way. We cannot further the cause of democracy that way. And we cannot deepen the political maturity and human dignity of our people if we succumb to that sort of cynical and corrupt manipulation and abuse. We, in the PLP, want no part of it, and we will have no part of it. It will be the high road for us, not the gutter!
And besides, it doesn’t work! The FNM is proof of that! Look where all their conduct got them in Elizabeth. It got them beat, that’s what!
No, we intend to play it straight. We intend to conduct an aggressive and spirited campaign but we will do so with respect for, and adherence, to the elementary values of integrity, decency and dignity that are so sorely lacking in our country today.
And so, we are committed as a Party to bringing those honourable values to bear in all that we say and do in the execution of our national and constituency campaigns.
We are going to set the pace and set the tone because we are convinced that political morality, human decency and civility require us to do so.
And let me be clear and direct about something else too: The next General Election cannot be fought on the basis of slick public relations and razzle-dazzle media designed to either distort the truth or distract attention from the real issues that are of the greatest concern to our people in these painfully difficult and perilous times:
the issues of crime and unemployment; the issue of the sellout of our precious national institutions and resources; the issue of arrogant and incompetent governance; the issue of the lack of visionary insight and planning in this FNM government; the issue of the lack of compassion for, and the neglect of, the struggling masses and the issue of feathering the nests of the rich.
Those are the issues that this Election must be fought on so that the electorate can see just how urgent and absolutely imperative it is to throw this FNM government out and bring the PLP back!
We are the only party with the vision, the plan, the compassion, the commitment and the team that our country will need over the next five years to lift us up from the rot of the FNM governance.
So, we are going to fight the FNM on the issues and we are going to win the next election on the strength of the issues.
And let me be as clear as I can be on this subject: we are absolutely convinced that the FNM government is bad for our country. It’s as simple as that. Our country has been on a steep downhill ride for the past four years.
Things are bad, dead bad! People are suffering as never before and a major part of the blame falls squarely on the feet of the FNM.
It’s truly a sad state of affairs when low-down tactics was used last week when the PLP was accused, by innuendo, of stirring up violence on Bay Street and planting known criminals in the demonstration. Nothing could have been further from the truth. It was all a lie. The PLP engaged in no such activity whatsoever! These are matters for the Commissioner of Police, and not for a Minister of National Security to so use his authority in purely a political context and for political brownie points.
It is tragic that a lady who apparently suffered a broken collar bone while being lawfully present on Bay Street has been regrettably ignored in the Minister in his remarks.
The Minister should exercise the greatest care and be more circumspect in how he uses solely for partisan political purposes information provided by the police.
I am sure that the Commissioner of Police must have been terribly embarrassed to see how Tommy took confidential police information concerning who was in the crowd on Bay Street and then used it in the House of Assembly to try to score cheap, political points against the PLP – points that were, in any case, completely misconceived and without any merit at all.
You see we in the PLP have seen this playbook before. We have been the victims of it.
The facts are clear: the protest against BTC was organized as far as we are aware by a civic group known as the Save BTC Committee. The PLP had no role in sponsoring, organizing or coordinating it.
Some of our supporters like other concerned Bahamian citizen opposed to the sale of 51% of BTC to Cable and Wireless attended the march and protest. That is their right in a free and democratic society. But that was all there was to it. And we most certainly did not enlist the support of criminals.
We are incensed that this demonstration has been now characterized as something that it was not.
The issue Prime Minister and Mister Minister of National Security is not the protestors. It is the sale of BTC and the bad governance of the FNM.
I repeat what I said at my party’s rally, the FNM does not have a mandate from the people to sell BTC to Cable and Wireless. They need to go back to the people, and call elections sooner rather than later and before the sale of BTC takes place, if it is to take place at all.
I repeat: the PLP is opposed to the sale of BTC to Cable and Wireless. We call on the government to cease and desist.
The PLP will upon coming to office move to regain the majority shares forthwith from Cable and Wireless if the sale goes through.
The PLP believes in a share owning democracy and will sell shares in BTC in tranches to the Bahamian people. The PLP will allow competition and will liberalize the telecommunications market.
That is the PLP’s policy. That is the issue. We urge the FNM to stick to the issues.
All PLP MPs and Senators will vote no for the sale of BTC to Cable and Wireless if it comes to the House of Assembly and the Senate. We will call for a “division”. We want Bahamians to see and for history to record which of their representatives will vote for the fire sale of the national patrimony of which BTC is a great part.
I am calling on civil society, led by the church and the Christian Council in particular to monitor the conduct of this election campaign, and cry shame where parties exaggerate their demands and charges to the point where it becomes an insult to the intelligence of the Bahamian people. The government’s assault upon the intelligence of the Bahamian people and their intelligence last week in the House of Assembly surely crossed the line.
Yesterday I was in Freeport with colleagues to express our concerns and sympathy in respect of the recently announced layoffs of some 200 persons from the Our Lucaya Resort.
We expressed our strong concerns about the hands off attitude that the FNM administration has toward Freeport and the island of Grand Bahama. For four years, they have sat idly by as Freeport and Grand Bahama has lurched from one economic crisis to the next, without any clear vision of what to do to stop the problems. There are serious issues related to the development of Freeport and the island of Grand Bahama and the FNM simply has its head in the sand. It must be noted that in the House of Assembly there are six Members of Parliament from Grand Bahama, five of them are FNM and three of those are Ministers of the government. It took a PLP MP to raise the issue in the House during the Mid-Year Budget Debate. Not one FNM Member of the House, not one government minister including the three who represent this island said one word. The very least they could have done was to express sympathy for the people who were about to be laid off.
After the 200 persons had been dismissed the Government of The Bahamas through the Ministry of Labour announced that it had put in place some emergency measures to help the people who had been laid off.
While we welcome relief where relief is offered the question that the people of Freeport and Grand Bahama should be asking is whether or not the Government knew that these layoffs were coming, when did they know and were they pro-active in seeking to lessen the impact on the workforce. Further, how come the Government could have so quickly found jobs for these deserving Bahamians at this time when for years hundreds if not thousands of persons in Grand Bahama have been desperately seeking employment.
I raise these matters because they are symptomatic of how the FNM have failed to provide effective governance for the last four years.
The people of Freeport and Grand Bahama can now see for themselves how the FNM have failed to live up to their promise to do better.
In contrast they can now better appreciate the PLP’s sustained and proactive efforts to protect and promote the welfare of the residents of Freeport and Grand Bahama in the aftermath of the devastating hurricanes and in respect of continuing challenges to the island’s economy.
We say again as we said to those in Freeport yesterday: HOLD ON. HELP AND HOPE ARE ON THE WAY. Elections are to be held within a year. We expect to be the Government with God’s help and, we will bring the help, restoration and deliverance that you have long awaited.