Oswald Brown Writes
By OSWALD T. BROWN
The Free National Movement (FNM) held a rally in Freeport Saturday night to officially open the Marco City campaign headquarters of their candidate, Norris Bain, and one of the speakers was current Marco City MP Zhivargo Laing, who has abandoned that constituency to run for Fort Charlotte in New Providence.
The occasion provided Laing with an ideal opportunity to publicly let the voters in Marco City know why he no longer wants to represent them, but Laing amazingly squandered that opportunity and spent most of his speech praising Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.
There’s no question that Laing owes the voters in Marco City an explanation as to why he decided to desert them. Knowledgeable sources in Grand Bahama say Laing made his decision after canvassing the area in the aftermath of the boundary changes and determined that the support for PLP candidate Gregory Moss was too substantial for him to overcome.
Laing has also been dogged by a “revival” of the Mona Vie scandal, which was a hot topic in 2008. The scandal centered around a decision made by the then Comptroller of Customs John Rolle to properly change the duty on the importation of Mona Vie, a nutritional drink, from 10 percent to 45 percent and the alleged involvement of Minister of State for Finance Laing in reportedly seeking to have that decision reversed. His sister-in-law was one of the importers of Mona Vie.
What’s more, Laing may also want to explain why some Bahamas Customs officers complained to their union about the promotion of his brother-in-law Milo Stubbs to Assistant Comptroller of Customs. Given the fact that Laing, who as Minister of State for Finance has responsibility for Bahamas Customs, charges of rank nepotism have been suggested by some Customs officers, who question Stubbs’ rapid rise to the position to become Assistant Comptroller.
These issues more likely than not will follow Laing to Fort Charlotte in New Providence, where I understand he will be soundly defeated by Dr. Andre Rollins, one of the cadre of future political leaders who are included in the PLP’s slate of candidates.
In any case, there is a consensus that Greg Moss will easily win the Marco City seat, despite the many promises made at Saturday’s rally by the Prime Minister in an attempt to “hoodwink” and “bamboozle” voters in Grand Bahama into forgetting that the FNM totally neglected Grand Bahama over the past four-plus years.
To be sure, the pain and suffering endured by far too many Grand Bahamians under the FNM are too acute for voters in Grand Bahama to forget just how bad a government the FNM has been over these past four-plus years.
Some of the things that voters in Grand Bahama will not forget were highlighted by PLP Deputy Leader Philip “Brave” Davis in his address to a massive crowd of PLP supporters at a rally on Friday night in West End, Grand Bahama, to officially open the campaign headquarters of incumbent PLP Member of Parliament Obie Wilchcombe.
With an election now imminent, Davis told thousands of cheering PLP supporters that Ingraham is “deceptively trying to lull” Grand Bahama “voters into forgetting that his vindictiveness was primarily responsible for most of the pain and suffering you have had to endure.”
Davis advised Grand Bahama voters to let Ingraham know that “his spiteful policies towards Grand Bahama are mainly responsible for the island’s outrageously high unemployment rate.”
“You must let him know that his mean-spirited policies are responsible for the decimation of Grand Bahama’s once vibrant middle class sector,” Davis said. “You must let him know that you cannot forget that although the FNM has five Grand Bahama MPs, three of whom were cabinet ministers, they remained totally silent while he neglected Grand Bahama.”
Davis added: “You must let him know that the country’s economy overall would not be in the poor shape it is in if it were not mismanaged by himself, as Minister of Finance, and his Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing. You must let him know you cannot forget the irresponsible and reckless borrowing by the FNM that has skyrocketed the country’s national debt to $4.6 billion. Yes, Grand Bahama, you must let them know that you are sick and tired of their bad governance and will vote them out in the next election.”
Unquestionably, these are issues voters in Grand Bahama should demand that FNM candidates provide answers for when they come knocking on their doors seeking their support.