Allyson Maynard -Gibson speaking on convention platform as Bradley Roberts looks on. (File photo)
Nassau, The Bahamas: During the recent debate in the Senate on the Stamp Tax Amendment for the Ginn Project in West End, Grand Bahama, Opposition Leader in the Senate, Allyson Maynard-Gibson had this to say about FNM smoke and mirror propaganda:
â€œThe FNM more than 1 year later has to bring back to the table projects left in place by the PLP. The problem is that the world economy has changed. More than a year later Bahamians can see for themselves that the FNM propaganda while in Opposition was a tissue of lies:
â€œThe FNM untruth, smoke and mirrors was that the PLP was giving away Bahamian land to foreigners.
The truth is that the PLP was not giving away land to foreigners. The land owned by Ginn was already in Non Bahamian hands (owned by the Sammons family). This land in private hands was not being developed. The acquisition of this land from a private land owner led to significant stimulus to the economy. History will show that the visionary plan for this Anchor Project was one of the most creative plans implemented in Grand Bahama in a generation. Evidence of this is the fact that the FNM has not changed the PLP vision although the FNM held the plan up as a part of its SRC modus operandi.
â€œThe FNM untruth, smoke and mirrors, was that the Project is not sound environmentally.
The truth is that it is an environmentally sound project. The fact that the FNM has not changed the specifications is evidence of that fact.
The FNM untruth, smoke and mirrors, was that the Project had unnecessary, unusual and improper concessions.
The truth is that the concessions were necessary to jump start Grand Bahamaâ€™s economy, devastated by 3 strong hurricanes in 15 months. The evidence of that fact is that the FNM is now enacting the very same concessions approved by the PLP. Can you imagine what a difference there might have been in Grand Bahama had they brought this Act last year rather than Stopping Reviewing and trying to Cancel?
â€œThe FNM untruth, smoke and mirrors, was that the PLP was not causing more hotel rooms to be developed.
The truth is that the world trend in touristic development is towards mixed use resorts. This is for traditional vertical structures with hotel rooms (traditional hotels) as well as horizontal structures, many homes, which could be put back into the hotel pool. Hotel rooms would be in traditional hotels and in homes put back into the hotel pool. Evidence of this is the fact that the FNM has not changed the mixed use component of this development.
â€œThe FNM untruth, smoke and mirrors, was that the economy of West End would not benefit from this project.
The truth is that this was the first project in decades that integrated the Community of West End into its development.
â€¢ The Foundation was established;
â€¢ contractors fully engaged and expanding their businesses,
â€¢ other existing businesses were fully engaged and expanding (hotels, restaurants, other retail businesses)
â€¢ plans were being developed for the West End Boardwalk
â€¢ plans were being developed for new housing communities necessary to house the many persons who would be engaged in the new community
â€¢ a land fill was being developed
â€¢ a reliable potable water supply was being developed
â€¢ a rapid roadway route from Freeport to West End was being developed
â€¢ training had already commenced for key personnel
â€¢ the list goes on and on.
â€œThe truth and the reality is that had the government moved quickly to implement the projects that the PLP left in place, the Grand Bahama economy would be thriving today. The Bahamian economy would be thriving today.
â€œThe truth and the reality is that Stop Review and Cancel policy meant that several of the Ginn plans had to be put on hold while the FNM tried to redesign the project to label it an FNM project. The PLP negotiated a project that was an anchor project not only for West End Grand Bahama but for all Grand Bahama AND the Northern Bahamas.â€