Bradley B Roberts
Progressive Liberal Party
National General Council Meeting
Thursday Aug 24th 2017
Fellow Councilors, since we last meet in July more than 100 days elapsed since the May 10th general elections and many Bahamians are looking back and assessing the achievements of the Minnis led FNM government. The truth of the matter Councilors is that the FNM did not outline a goal achievement program like the PLP did in 2012 so there is little to nothing with which to compare.
The unvarnished truth is the FNM promised everything during the election campaign but delivered nothing in 100 days save and except a few inconsequential window dressing items.
I again raise the issue of the projected business license fees which were estimated in the 2016/2017 fiscal year at $147,000,000. The estimates for the 2017/2018 fiscal year equal $150,000,000. The 2017/2018 estimates did not provide a break down but it is estimated that the reduction in taxes for very large companies will total some $10,000,000 as announced by the Minister of Finance during the recent budget and communication, yet with a reduction of $10,000,000 the total estimate for Business License fees will increase by $3,000,000 to $150,000,000. With no discernable economic growth or plans for the same, what is the source of this $13 million increase in business license fees? Clearly, this is voodoo economics.
I will be remiss Councilors if I did not again draw the country’s attention to the dishonesty of the FNM and the rank disrespect and disdain it has shown for our national institutions such as Parliament and the high offices of MP and Cabinet Minister. The DPM did in fact mislead Parliament on the budget deficit. The published figures by the Central Bank clearly proves this.
Duplicating accruals is a violation of Stand Accounting Practices and patently dishonest; I dare say criminal. This too is voodoo economics just like their projections from business license fees.
Any Finance Minister ought to know better but day by day Bahamians in increasing numbers simply expect dishonesty from this Minnis crew.
SINCE GARBAGE IN CAN ONLY RESULT IN GARBAGE OUT, THE ENTIRE FNM BUDGET IS FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED AND UNREALISTIC!
Fellow Councilors, it was reported in the press on the 4th of July that State Minister for Grand Bahama confirmed that the government was “in the middle of trying to negotiate the deal” and that the government was talking to the Wynn investment group every day. “We are trying to close the deal as quickly as possible” said Thompson and that they were “trying to get the best possible deal for Grand Bahama” in “the shortest possible time.”
Fast forward to today’s business report in one of the local dailies where the Wynn investment group has reportedly pulled out of the deal to purchase the hotels on the Lucayan strip. They claim that the FNM government did not reach out to them, sending a negative message to them.
It is important to note that the Christie administration was negotiating a Heads of Agreement with the Wynn investment group; former Tourism Minister Wilchcombe and a delegation from Tourism and the Attorney General’s Office travelled to Canada to commence negotiations.
The FNM government is clearly misleading the Bahamian people on this Grand Bahama project. Who was the government negotiating with in July? If it was so close to a deal, why did the Wynn group pull out? Why is the FNM government investing in the hotel if they are negotiating with a third party for a sale?
Ostensibly the third party has the requisite funding to close the sale as a precondition for the government to enter negotiations on a HOA. Has the FNM back tracked on its policy of government divestment in hotels and what is the justification for this policy change? Who is the current front runner to purchase and operate the hotels in Grand Bahama since the Wynn Group has pulled out? There are rumors that the government wants to ensure that Sarkis Izmirlian takes over these hotels. The FNM should come clean to the Bahamian people and confirm or deny these rumors.
You know fellow delegates, the more Dr. Minnis talks about transparency in government, the more dark clouds seem to gather around his secret dealings.