THE governing Progressive Liberal Party has responded to the outrage over its decision not to renew the contracts of 80 Urban Renewal employees, by declaring the party has a mandate to organise the scheme as it sees fit.
Following criticism of the move by FNM leader Dr Hubert Minnis and Senator Dion Foulkes, who wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister yesterday, the PLP rejected the opposition's right to complain, considering its own handling of Urban Renewal while in office.
A party statement said: "The people of the Bahamas gave the PLP a mandate to create Urban Renewal 2.0 in the fight against this insidious scourge of crime.
"It is the legal right and responsibility of the government to review available manpower resources and allocate the same as it sees fit to ensure the success of its policy objectives.
"The PLP is intolerant of lectures from the FNM who stopped, watered down and politicised Urban Renewal, rendering it virtually ineffective in the fight against crime."
Declining to say whether it will reconsider its position on the workers, the PLP said senior FNMs are "most confused" if they believe that they can tell the government how to execute its policies.
Speaking on Sunday, Dr Minnis pointed out that half-way into its self-imposed checklist for the first 100 days in office, the PLP is failing to deliver on its promises - including a promise not to increase unemployment.
The government has claimed the state of the economy is complicating its efforts, but this is no excuse, the FNM leader said - as the PLP knew the situation when the promises were being made.
In response, the governing party both criticised the FNM for ruining the country's finances, and claimed the global economy did not hit the Bahamas as bad as has been suggested.
The statement said: "It is unfortunate that Dr Minnis has not come to accept the fact that the FNM lost the last general elections and is no longer the government. His party will fail in their attempt to distract the PLP government from its overwhelming mandate to restore this weak and stagnant economy and fundamentally make Bahamians safe.
"It was the failed policies of the FNM that significantly contributed to the sorry state of this economy and the high rate of crime. The simple fact is that the FNM lied to the Bahamian people about the severity of the local economic crisis and the PLP will not allow them to get away with deflecting from this fact."
The PLP also addressed Dr Minnis' other accusations, claiming he was "wrong" to say the Constitution mandates the immediate appointment of the Attorney General on the same day as the Prime Minister.
It said: Since Dr Minnis' position is a Constitutional one, we suggest that he reads the constitution to assist him in making more informed interventions instead of embarrassing himself and his party.
"Regarding the appointment of boards and statutory bodies, Dr Minnis is again reminded that his government was late in appointing boards as it was not until July 8, 2007 that the FNM saw its way to appoint boards and statutory bodies.
"Prime Minister Christie was clear when he said that the existing boards expire at the end of June 2012 and the new boards will be in place by July 1st 2012. This policy still stands."