By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
FREEPORT - DNA Leader Branville McCartney has spoken out about the ever-increasing number of unemployed Grand Bahamians.
With unemployment now at 21 per cent, he said this is "one of the darkest economic periods in the history of the island".
Osman Johnson, DNA candidate for Pineridge, said the latest figures show a 5.8 per cent increase in unemployment - to an unprecedented high of 21.2 per cent or 11,000 people without a job.
He said: "I am reminded of the rather farcical comments made by the junior Minister of Finance, the Honourable Zhivargo Laing, when he suggested that Grand Bahama's industrial sector remains relatively stable, and this despite the dozens of lay-offs at major companies all over the island.
"It is this kind of statement which belies the ignorance of this FNM government to not only the true situation which is prevalent at this time, but also the genuine need of the people on this island for the government to take action."
Mr Johnson said a new development is desperately needed in the centre of Freeport, and noted that the Royal Oasis Hotel has been vacant for the past seven years without either the FNM or PLP doing anything about it.
Mr Johnson said the DNA would engage local and international partners in an effort to redevelop the area to provide a first rate tourism entertainment zone complete with restaurants, nightclubs, bars, and other amenities.
He said the DNA would also pursue government investment - either independently or in conjunction with private partners - in light industry, fish farming, agri-business, and the renewable energy sector to diversify the Grand Bahama economy.