Bahamas Press 25th March 2021.
As the Minister of Tourism tries valiantly to justify yet another bad deal with Hutchison Whompao there is no support for the spending of another $40 million in taxpayers money on the Grand Bahama International Airport (GBIA).
Indeed, even the Tribune has admitted that this is a deal which they FNM should stay away from. And while the minster tried once more to deflect and confuse the Bahamian public by emphasising that the purchase price will be $1.00, he had to sheepishly admit another important aspect of this bad deal i.e., the government was also acquiring all of the liabilities of the airport.
By any measure, the FNM administration has failed Grand Bahamians who bought their campaign lies and voted for them in such numbers that they gained all of the GB seats in the last election.
In an article in the Nassau Guardian dated February 15, 2021 Sharon Turner noted: “Nearly four years into its term in office, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has not demonstrated an understanding of the intricacies of Freeport or the needs of Grand Bahama and has instead sought to hang his hat on the announcement of supposed billion-dollar projects in the absence of a sustainable development plan for the island’s mixed economy.
As a general election looms, it appears as has happened in the past, that announcements of deals and acquisitions will be made in earnest, so that the governing party has something with which to boast in its campaign to seek a fresh mandate from voters on Grand Bahama”.
In other words, the FNM is relying on Grand Bahamians once more buying into more campaign lies and misrepresentations so that they can deluge them with even more lies and promises.
Promises for an example on the reopening of the Lucayan Beach Hotel which appears to be mired in confusion and lack of transparency. Date after date for its reopening have been missed. The long-promised jobs for GB is still a dream and Grand Bahamians must be wondering what is happening.
And while the minister was confusing us in the House his erstwhile supporter in the Senate the Attorney General (AG) was spouting even more nonsense about the GBIA deal.
In a blazing row with PLP Senator Fred Mitchell , the AG sought to deflect criticism of the deal by asserting that the PLP had nothing good in mind for Grand Bahamians and that was why they did not support the deal. In doing this he neglected (or did not know) about a previous encounter the then PLP administration had with Hutchison Whompao concerning the GBIA in either 2014 or 2015.
Hutchison was determined to close the airport and had already presented severance packages to the Air Traffic Controllers(ATC,s) without whom GBIA could not operate. In an effort to save GB jobs and its economy the PLP government rehired all of the ATC,s at salaries commensurate with their renumeration from Hutchison Whompao. The ATC,s are now Bahamas government employees not employees of Hutchison.
So, in one fell swoop the PLP while in government saved jobs, secured Grand Bahamians access to air transport, and stabilized the islands economy. In fact, through this one act the PLP did more for Grand Bahamians than the FNM has done in their four years of maladministration. So, AG who really cares and has the welfare of Grand Bahamians at heart? You know the answer so stop the nonsense.
Michael J. Brown