Remarks by Hon. Philip Brave Davis –
Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Leader of the PLP
MP for Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador
At PLP National Council Launch on Grand Bahama
Taxi Union Hall
Freeport, Grand Bahama
Thursday, February 28th, 2013
Good Evening PLPs!
Good Evening Bahamas!
Over 50 years ago, brave Bahamian women spearheaded the fight to begin the advancement of social justice and gender equality with the local suffragette movement.
In that fight, those souls ignited and propelled a country forward at a time of grave injustices when the nation was bound, chained and shackled.
By January 10th, 1967, Bahamians everywhere, of every race and creed, saw the vision that the time had come: “To wipe away the tears from every eye”.
That great march by Majority Rule anchored a movement for our people to believe in themselves.
We know then as we know now that we are the inheritors of a rich past and a glorious future.
Forty years ago – we began the task of building a free nation through Independence on July 10th, 1973.
That singular achievement in our country gave birth to many national institutions:
The Royal Bahamas Defence Force
The Central Bank of the Bahamas
The College of the Bahamas…
And as the national institutions came on stream, so did we also work to advance the lives of Bahamians in communities all across the country.
Forty years … and our vision to educate and train Bahamians saw further expansions from healthcare networks and clinics to the creation of technical schools for our young people.
We are all in this together!
All across the Bahamas the legacy and focus of the PLP continues to be – as it was then – anchored in the development of the lives of the ordinary Bahamian.
Our central policies through empowerment gave birth to the largest and most rapidly growing middle class The Bahamas has seen.
• Urban Renewal policing program, which was very effective from all accounts.
• Urban Renewal Second Chance Program for young people
• And we created the National Youth Initiative
We had begun preparatory work towards university status for COB by 2009. This was abandoned under the former administration – but it has now been rejuvenated and 2015 is the new target date.
In addition to this, our sound fiscally disciplined policies left the country with a strong economic performance. This was demonstrated in May 2006 when Moody’s upgraded the Bahamas to a AA1 status, the highest achievement in the Country’s history in this area.
Unemployment had dropped to single digits.
And the country was headed in the right direction.
This is our history.
This is the record of a PLP government!
These results are now a matter of irrefutable historical record and are now etched in the record of the Hansard of the House of Assembly for future generations of Bahamians to review.
We accomplished a stellar fiscal record; unmatched by any other administration in the Country’s history.
Those on the other side cannot boast the same. When we returned to office just 9 months ago what we met left behind by the Free National Movement is nothing short of a “CRIME” committed on the Bahamian people!
Suspect #1 is the “Chief Abandoner” himself – who left the party and ran into hiding like a refugee seeking asylum.
On Ingraham’s watch these assaults on our country and our people took place:-
* Record level youth unemployment of 34% in 2012.
* Record level job losses of 27,000 between 2009 – 2012
* Record level unemployment of 42,000
* Record level murders and crime across the board. But I have some news coming soon of what we have done with crime in just 8 shorts months… Stay tuned for that…
Grand Bahama you know the record of the FNM on this island
* Record level home foreclosures.
* Record level high taxation across the board in 2011 creating more depressed economic conditions – even for children…
* Grand Bahama do you remember those high electricity bills? Record level high in electricity bills – where thousands were thrown into darkness for years.
Need I say more?
Grand Bahama, – we inherited a mess!
And so while you may feel the night is long – I have come to Grand Bahama to assure you that the New Day – like joy in the morning – has come!
Tonight I have good news for you!
A New Season has come for Grand Bahama!
Just this week our Prime Minister announced in the Parliament the finalization of the deal for the reopening of the REEF Village.
This deal between the Government, Hutchison Port Holdings Ltd and Sunwing Travel Group will renovate and reopen the 503-room Reef Village on this island by the end of the year.
The project will create hundreds of construction jobs on this island: painters, carpenters, masons, electricians and plumbers are headed back to work!
When the property reopens it is expected to create 1,000 new permanent jobs for this island.
This also will create more opportunities for struggling taxi drivers, straw vendors and retail shops on this island.
Grand Bahama – Your PLP government is working for you.
We have placed around the table of government an able Minister in the person of Dr. Michael Darville to bring sharp focus to the needs of Grand Bahamians at the highest levels of Government.
Equally, I assure you the Prime Minister is focused on this part of the country and is daily in discussions on meeting the needs of residents on this island.
I also want you to know that you have a friend in me.
And so as we reflect on these 40 years of our history as an independent Bahamas, and as we look to the years now ahead,
…..I want to remind you of the words of our Prime Minister who told the nation this week, “We are turning the corner!”
There are already signs of growth throughout the country.
In nine short months already we can see things are getting better; unemployment is in decline, new opportunities are on the horizon and crime is quickly coming under control.
The bright days for our party and our nation are just ahead.
This is the time to remember that we are all in this together.
I call upon you to invite your friends and neighbour to get involved in the progress of our country.
The time is now to prepare yourselves, to roll up your sleeves and get ready to work.
The night is over now –
The storm is over!
For we are all are in this together as we move our country forward!
A New Day has come to Grand Bahama…
Good Evening and God Bless!