FNM Chairman Responds to Mitchell

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FULL STATEMENT: Statement by FNM Chairman Johnley Ferguson:

In Saturday’s edition of The Nassau Guardian, Fred Mitchell a former Minister in the PLP Government, was quoted as having criticized the FNM Government for tabling in the House of Assembly correspondence related to the proposed Baha Mar project.

Mr. Mitchell said that the tabling of these letters violated “the confidence of negotiations going back and forth between investors and the government”.

We suggest that Mr. Mitchell and his colleagues in the PLP are not one little bit concerned about any violation of confidence in the tabling of these letters.

The truth is that they are embarrassed by the revelations contained in the letters which clearly indicate that their Government was incompetent, ineffective and untrustworthy during those negotiations.

Furthermore, Mr. Mitchell and his colleagues are obviously annoyed that the tabling of these letters exposes the deception that they have been trying to foist on the Bahamian people to the effect that the FNM was responsible for the difficulties plaguing this project.

It is clear that for years Mr. Mitchell and his colleagues – including former Prime Minster Perry Christie — in typical fashion, were talking and staging photo opportunities when they should have been negotiating, giving undertakings to the investors which they failed to fulfill, and plotting to keep the Bahamian people in the dark about the true state of affairs.

It is true that confidentiality is sometimes required at crucial stages of a negotiating process but Mr. Mitchell misses an important point and it is that there are now no “negotiations going back and forth” between investors and the PLP Government.

Any confidentiality that may have been required at any point has long since fallen away, and the FNM Government rightly decided to give the Bahamian people a full accounting after picking up the pieces and trying to straighten out the mess left behind by the PLP.

Mr. Mitchell should be ashamed that one of the principals should pointedly say to his Prime Minister that “leadership and accountability” is urgently required to turn a commitment into action. And that was as far back as January 2006, and obviously that admonition was not heeded.

The FNM is proud that at long last both the Bahamian people and investors have a Government and a Prime Minister who are capable of providing leadership and accountability and to do in nine months what the former Government could not do in three years.