Statement to the Media
Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, Q.C., M.P.
Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party
Prime Minister’s Budget Full of Deception and Evidence of Contempt for
PM Offers No Plan to Manage Debt or Grow the Economy
In the real world, our country faces a very serious crisis, one that urgently requires a major response, including a plan to take on $10 billion in debt and a plan to kickstart our recovery, create jobs, and make our economy more dynamic and more inclusive.
But the Prime Minister can neither produce nor execute such a plan. He has never shown the capacity or inclination to think past his own short-term political interests. So instead of confronting the country’s problems, he has presented a budget disconnected from reality; one that does nothing to move us forward as a nation. What a waste of time — one that will cost us more money and leave us deeper in the hole.
This is a government that has routinely missed its own budget projections,
beginning long before Dorian and COVID. Their latest budget projections are based on wishful thinking and election-time math.
That’s why you can’t find a single serious voice who thinks this budget adds up or does anything to solve our most urgent problems.
The Prime Minister’s dishonesty about the depth of crisis we face underscores his contempt for the Bahamian people. He doesn’t respect Bahamians enough to tell them the truth.
He is hoping that election-time giveaways, purchased with money we will have to borrow at staggeringly high interest rates, will be enough to make Bahamians forget that he has already borrowed billions with nothing to show for it.
The PM’s favourite word is “unprecedented” – he is desperate to use Dorian and COVID as an excuse but faces the significant problems.
First, Bahamians actually remember how this government behaved before Dorian hit. We don’t have to imagine how the FNM would govern in the absence of a hurricane or virus. We saw for ourselves what that was like – they presided over the fraudulent and scandalous Oban deal; they raised VAT while cutting taxes for the wealthy, and they granted a lucrative contract to a member of their own Cabinet.
No Bahamian is asking for more of that.
Also, before, during and after Dorian, the government offered neglect, confusion, and turmoil instead of steadiness, planning, and compassion. How can a government that charged its own citizens for evacuation ask for a free pass because of the hurricane?
And of course, the government’s management of COVID has been abysmal, with a record of more cases and deaths per capita than nearly all of our neighbors in the region – all achieved with business-killing lockdowns and by a stumbling, bumbling, reactive-instead-of-proactive Competent Authority of One.
What’s really unprecedented then, is this level of incompetence – and the lack of shame. It is really something to listen to the Prime Minister brag about tax cuts given to various interests when it was his friends and wealthy supporters who received that support.
Thousands of Bahamians are still going to bed hungry, people are sleeping in their cars, joblessness is widespread, and the PM continues to throw money away on useless projects like sidewalks and handouts to his friends.
Only a Prime Minister with contempt for the people would continue to shovel secret deals to his wealthy backers, even as we face a massive debt crisis.
Hundreds of millions in COVID spending remains a secret, and Bahamians are smart enough to know there’s a good reason the government is violating the law to keep the details of that spending hidden.
But the truth will come out.
Just as all the giveaways of crown land, tax cuts, and desperate deals with the
cruise ships cannot hide the failures of this government.
The Prime Minister is under-estimating the Bahamian people. His disrespect for them blinds him to this undeniable truth: Bahamians are determined never to fall for his lies again.