Hubert Ingraham promises to get tough on crime…

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I brought you Zhivargo Laing again and I want you to send him back to me as your MP! I too live in Ft. Charlotte; there are five of us who are voting for Vargo!

Let me be clear about something. I continue to seek out young people to involve in the political process in The Bahamas. That is why Zhivargo was selected in 1997 and I thank you for electing him.

When the FNM were defeated in 2002 Zhivargo returned to Freeport.

In 2007 the constituents of Marco City in Freeport convinced us that the one person who could win that seat for the FNM, in the face of a then popular MP from that other Party, was Zhivargo. We prevailed upon Vargo to re-enter the political front line. He agreed. And we won!

We continue to want to bring young people and those dedicated to the healthy formation of young people to the fore. That’s why we sought to make way for Norris Bain to come into front-line politics in Marco City, Grand Bahama. Norris is a devoted Christian, a school principal and sports coach who has made his life about developing the talents of young Bahamians.

Once again we prevailed upon Zhivargo – this time for him to return to Ft. Charlotte. And, he willingly agreed. We see a wonderful opportunity to kill 2 birds with one stone – keep Marco City Red with Norris and turn Ft. Charlotte away from yellow and make it RED!

So that you know, the FNM gonna win all five seats in Grand Bahama!

Fellow Bahamians: I’ve heard some whining and complaining about the opening of the National Stadium from that other side. And, here I thought that everyone was just ‘ga be happy for the Bahamian people’.

How many of y’all went to the opening and enjoyed yourself?

I told you before that what’s good for you ‘ain’t good for the PLP. They boycotted the opening of the Stadium because they weren’t the centre of attention.

I tell you that Perry is the Master of Ceremonies. He likes presiding at ceremonies. He’s vexed because he could not be Master of Ceremonies for the Stadium’s opening. He doesn’t like hard work. If he liked hard work the Stadium would have been designed, built and opened long before now. Like I’ve said before -Time and tide wait for no man or woman!

On Saturday past, the world marked the manner of our bearing at the grand opening of the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.

We gathered in the tens of thousands in person and in front of our televisions to watch live the biggest national event since independence.

I wish we had a song like Priscilla Rollins did for independence. Remember, “Independence Mornin’, Like A Baby Bornin’?”

On Saturday it felt like something new was being born in The Bahamas. It felt like the beginning of a new day for sports, a new day for our young people.

FNMs: The Bahamas is on the map in terms of sports. Our record at the Olympics, at the World Championships, CAC games and Carifta speak for itself.

With the opening of the new Stadium The Bahamas is now on the map in terms of sports tourism!

To make The Bahamas an even more world class sports tourism destination we will develop a Sports Tourism Encouragement Act in our next term.

The Act will provide incentives for Bahamians and international persons in the further advancement of The Bahamas as a first class sports tourism destination.

I came away from the opening of the Stadium will all kinds of feelings. But maybe the two most powerful feelings I had was pride, and hope for the future.

Even amidst our national challenges, all of us were reminded that when Bahamians put their hearts and heads together that we can overcome these challenges.

And, we will!

We are recovering from this global economic crisis.
We will also meet and beat back the criminal elements who seek to destroy our way of life.

I looked in the faces of the thousands of young people at the opening of the Stadium and saw a bright future.

I could see the hope in their faces.

I felt the courage and determination in their spirit, not fear.

I could hear in their cheers their pride in being Bahamian.

We must honour their hopes and determination, and be trustworthy of their pride and courage.

Some young people make poor choices but they are a very small minority. The majority of our young people are headed in the right direction. We want to ensure that that majority have every opportunity our country can afford for them to realize their goals and ambitions and make a life for themselves.

Young Bahamians: Let me talk directly with you. I wasn’t born into money and privilege. In fact, I grew up poor; poor in material wealth, but not poor in spirit.

There was a privilege I did have. My grandmother believed in me so much, that she made me believe in myself. And, I was blessed to be born in The Bahamas.

I love my country for many reasons. One of the many reasons is that this country has been good to me. You, the Bahamian people, have given me opportunities I could never have dreamt of as a boy growing up in Abaco.

I want every Bahamian child to have the same opportunities I did and more. I believe it is our responsibility to make things better for the next generation.

That is why I and our Party are dedicated to creating an Opportunity Society beginning with growing opportunities for young Bahamians.

That is why we put and keep at the top of our agenda expanding and improving education facilities for Bahamian young people, hiring additional numbers of teachers, getting better tuition materials and training more Bahamians to become teachers.

This is why we have made it possible that any young Bahamian leaving high school, who meets the standard for entry into the College of The Bahamas to do so – free of charge. And that is why, in our next term we will provide rental assistance payments to Family Island students who meet the standard and who cannot be accommodated in the College dorms and who are unable to attend COB because they cannot afford the cost of room and board.

I see a bunch of posters put up by the PLP saying they believe in young people. I certainly wish they had acted like they believed in you when they were in office. Had they believed in you they would have spent some of the $800 million they borrowed during their last term in office on you – improving your schools, improving skills training available to you and making way for more of you to attend COB.

When they were in office, the Christie Government granted – over their 5 year term – $ 5.1 million worth of scholarships for young Bahamians to attend COB.

Over the past four and a half years this Government has granted $25.7 million in scholarships for young Bahamians to attend COB! That in a nut shell tells you the difference between them and us. That in a nutshell tells you who believes in and support Bahamian youths.

We granted 5 times more scholarships to young Bahamians attending COB than they did when given the opportunity. If they believe in young people so much, why didn’t they put the money where their mouth is?

We have also invested millions in our 52 week National Jobs Readiness and Skills Training Programme. I understand that some in that other Party are busy running to some Family Islands and telling stories about the Programme. They want to convince participants that the 52 week programme announced in the last Budget Communication will end with this fiscal year – in June 2012. That is a lie, an untruth; plain and simple propaganda.

So take it from me, the author of the programme – each person engaged in the programme is engaged for 52 weeks. If you commenced work in October, 2011 you will complete your 52 week in October 2012. Those of you who started in February, 2012, will complete your engagement in February, 2013 – 52 weeks after you would have started.

We’re proud of our record in delivering for young Bahamians.

We are also the party that looks to the future. In our next term we want to make even more opportunities available to young Bahamians. That is why we will launch the Bahamas Youth Corps.

In our next term in office The Bahamas Youth Corps will provide 18 to 25-year olds with the opportunity to earn funds for further schooling, college, or to start a business venture.

And when we promise you something, you can take that to the bank because as our record shows – WE DELIVER!

Ft. Charlotte; FNMs; Fellow Bahamians: My greatest priority is the safety and security of the Bahamian people. We in the FNM are tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime.

We are improving road safety through new and refurbished roads. We are doing so through new traffic lights, modern traffic laws and vigorous enforcement of these laws.

The police are out in full force enforcing our traffic laws. This has three main purposes:
First, it saves lives and prevents serious injury.

Second, you may be surprised how enforcing traffic laws also help to fight crime in terms of things like guns, illegal drugs, and locating people with outstanding warrants. Anyway, that’s all I ‘wanna say ‘bout this.

The third point is this: ‘We have to fight against lawlessness and breaking the law at every level’. Fighting crime requires the comprehensive approach that we are following.

Reversing the tolerance for other crimes includes less tolerance for small things. This includes things like running the traffic light, driving with a back light out, or ignoring the speed limit.

I still am trying to understand, why we are happy to abide by the traffic laws in US, but at home so many of us ignore our own traffic laws – act as if they don’t exist.

We can do better. Furthermore, we are spending plenty money and time building the best roads in this region. So, if you throw garbage in the road, you ‘ga get fine. Same goes for rubbish falling off the back of trucks. And, let me put them cement trucks on notice. Stop ‘spilling cement on our roads. This goes too for them people who like to mix cement on the road.

Now you know someone ‘ga say something like, “Instead of dealing with people who break traffic laws, the police should deal with serious criminals.” Stop talking fool.

We have to do both at the same time. This is why even in tough times when other countries were laying-off police we hired over 400 police officers.

This Government has a comprehensive and strategic plan to combat crime as well as the conditions which give rise to crime.

Christie and the PLP don’t have a crime plan. They have a crime brochure. They have TV commercials about crime. ‘That’s all they have’.

We know that the PLP do not have the kind of tough and decisive leadership or clean hands needed to fight crime.

And, you really believe that the party of late-again, can do anything quickly, much less something they like to call, Swift Justice.

Let’s talk serious about crime.

To turn around serious crime several things must be done at the same time.

First, you start to address the small things that made our city less liveable.

You crack-down on people breaking traffic laws. You fine more people for littering. You address the problem of people who are a public nuisance. Then, you improve public infrastructure and beautify our surroundings. We are doing these things all over this island – improving spaces for public recreation from Saunders Beach to South Beach to Big Pond to Montagu Foreshore.

We are also fixing the street lights on lamp poles, naming streets and numbering houses. You know how them other people like talk about the so-called things we do. Well, small things like these save lives.
A small thing like a sign with the name of your street reduces the time it may take an ambulance to get to your house. A small thing like a number on your house can speed up the response time by the police or BEC in case of an emergency.

We deliver small and big things for you.

We continue joint operations with police forces around our region and particularly with agencies of the United States Government on tackling the big transnational criminal issues.

We have increased the number of police officers and vehicles while improving the conditions of service on the Force.

We are targeting crime hotspots through targeted manpower. We are also deploying advanced technology including sophisticated computer systems and software to track and strike at hotspots.

We are expanding the CCTV network. This will be the most comprehensive expansion of crime-fighting technology in our nation’s history.

Our two state-of-the-art RBPF mobile strike force vehicles are on call – 24/7. They are fully equipped mobile police stations each with the capacity for video recording, flat screen viewing screens, specialized recording equipment and high-tech police lighting/siren/public address systems.

We know that it takes more than crime-fighting tools and technology to fight crime. But we also know that the fight against crime will not succeed without them.

Yes, we will do everything in our power to provide alternatives to those who may be minded to criminal behaviour.

We are working through our schools and in our communities to promote peaceful settlements of disputes; to encourage and support greater involvement and volunteerism in our community and to discourage and seek to correct bad behaviours. But, let me clear; anyone who ‘gat a mind to ‘tief’ and kill and do serious crime, you ‘ga’ feel the full weight of the law.

Papa ‘gat a soft heart for those who looking for opportunity and a chance in life, but, I ‘gat some hard hands’ when dealing with them who ‘gat hard heads’ and criminal minds. If they can’t hear, they ‘ga feel!
You can’t fight crime and a culture of criminality if you turn a blind eye to a culture of corruption in your party. You can’t fight crime if you taking money from sources who made it illegally.

Ft. Charlotte: Our goal is to improve the quality of life for our people. That’s why we are improving our public infrastructure and beautifying our surrounding. These contribute to the creation of peace-loving communities.

You are set to be near some of the best recreational spaces in New Providence. There’s the new Saunders Beach Park which includes a play area for children. Some of the beach washed away over the years. We are going to restore it and make it better than it has ever been.

The project is for the physical enhancement and enlargement of Saunders Beach. It will include better protection of the coastline at Saunders and the installation of sand fencing to protect the refurbished beaches.

You know how them other people like talk about the so-called “things” we do. Well, the small things we do help save lives.

A small thing like a sign with the name of your street reduces the time it may take an ambulance to get to your house. A small thing like a number on your house can speed up the response time by the police or BEC in case of an emergency.

A small thing like easy access to a sea-side park can relieve social tensions and provide a safe place for healthy, life-affirming activities for our young families.

Ft. Charlotte: We deliver small things and we deliver big things for you – like schools, and stadiums and roads and improved hospitals and health care community clinics.

Because of action initiated by us BEC has already reconnected some 3,253 disconnected households to electricity service. Now you tell me, is that small or big things?

Your Delivery Boy and Delivery Team got back almost 6,000 acres of that land that the PLP was selling-off to foreigners.

Over the past five years, we did more than deliver for you. We rescued this country from the reckless decisions of a massively incompetent PLP.

This term we had to weather the storm, steady the boat and prepare for recovery.
In our next term we will implement our Recovery and Growth Agenda. I’ll give you a few highlights tonight.

One of the main thrusts of our Agenda for Recovery and Growth will be targeted incentives for Bahamian entrepreneurs.

In the coming weeks and in our Manifesto we will have much more to say on moving the economy forward.
FNMs

Ft. Charlotte: Success is a team effort. In the FNM, “We Deliver for You” because we have a better team. Colour Red is simply better than – Mellow Yellow.

In order to deliver a new 450-acre QE II Sports Centre and the Bahamas Youth Corps, I need a good team. Send me Zhirvago Laing.

Ft. Charlotte Zhivargo knows you. Another of the reasons I asked him to return to Ft. Charlotte is that many of you kept asking for him.

Zhivargo has been Minister of State for Finance during the worst global economic crisis in an independent Bahamas. He’s been through the fire and come through to the other side with experience and resolve.

Come Election Day you will have a choice; choose Vargo and the FNM!

On the one hand there is Perry Christie. As Minister of Finance he borrowed $800 million in what were better economic times; indeed, they have called them good and excellent economic times.

And what does Perry Christie have to show for all that money? Very little! We know where some of the money is – Wasted! And still Perry will tell you about all those things he has running around in his head – things that he never got around to doing for the Bahamian people.

On the other hand, there’s Zhivargo Laing. Zhivargo is a key member of the FNM team that has a long list of things, programmes and initiatives created using the funds we borrowed and other scarce government revenues in these difficult times: – three new schools opened, 8 others with classroom expansions – over 4,000 new classroom spaces; new roads and thoroughfares – gone to bed!, new prescription drug benefit, first time ever unemployment benefits, new Montagu Beach Park; new Saunders Beach Park; new ER and operating theatres under construction – in Nassau and Freeport. The list is long. Check it out at www. FNM2012.org!

Ft. Charlotte:

Zhirvago is an experienced Minister. He has served as Minister of State for Economic Development, as well as Minister of State in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, as well as in the Ministry of Education.

Vargo is a man of ideas. He is passionate when it comes to encouraging and unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of the Bahamian people. He is especially passionate about helping young Bahamians to reach for their dreams.

Zhirvago leads by example. He is an excellent role model for the young people of Ft. Charlotte.

He learned early about entrepreneurship from his mother who was a straw vendor.

And he learned about leadership early – as head boy at Hawksbill High School and as President of College of The Bahamas Union of Students.

Zhivargo studied economics. He trained in promoting foreign investment. But more than book learning he has hands-on experience in finance and economics in both the business world and in government.

I’m going to need Zhivargo’s book-learning, common sense and real-world experience in our next term.

Zhivargo is the FNM candidate for Ft. Charlotte. He is my candidate and I will be casting my vote for him come Election Day. I am asking you to support the FNM and come Election Day cast your vote for Zhivargo Laing.

God Bless and goodnight.

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