NEW employment figures show that the Christie administration is on the right track, PLP chairman Bradley Roberts said.
He said the figures, released by the Department of Statistics last week, indicate an increase of just under 2,000 employed persons and a decline of more than 1,100 in the number of unemployed persons.
“While we all long for a swifter economic recovery and an immediate end to the suffering of our people, this rate of recovery is consistent with our largest trading partner and we thank Almighty God for small blessings,” Mr Roberts said.
“This economic recovery also proves that the country is on the right track to full economic recovery and we applaud the ‘no new tax’ and pro-growth economic policies of the Christie government.”
The chairman said that while the PLP is encouraged by the “measurable decline” in the number of discouraged workers by eight per cent, “we necessarily register our concerns about the continued economic malaise on Grand Bahama where the number of discouraged workers has increased.
“We implore the government to spare no resource in urgently concluding the renovation of the Reef Village and Lighthouse Club – projects that promise to create some 1,000 permanent and well-paying jobs on that island. The good and productive works of the Prime Minister in bringing relief to Grand Bahama are duly noted.”
Mr Roberts said despite expectations, the Baha Mar project has not provided the kind of economic stimulus that the third phase of Atlantis did during the PLP’s last term in office, which he attributed to the government’s insistence on the use of a large Bahamian labour pool during the construction phase.
“During this phase, the growth of the Bahamian economy outpaced that of the United States. This wise and proven policy template was largely ignored and abandoned by the former FNM administration to the current detriment of the Bahamian economy and the quality of life for many Bahamian families.
“We unapologetically say once again that some of the tax and economic policies of the former Ingraham administration hurt the Bahamian economy, hurt thousands of working Bahamian families and made the economic recession worse and needlessly protracted,” he said.
“As for the Prime Minister – in the face of tremendous and unrelenting criticism, much of it undeserved, the PLP applauds the Prime Minister for his discipline, focus, restraint and strength of leadership.
“He stands vindicated by these new employment figures. He led a government between 2002 and 2007 that produced record stopover arrivals, record tourism expenditure, record government revenue and he drove an economy that created 22,000 jobs where the private sector flourished with record profits.
“These key performance indicators are inconvenient facts to his critics, but facts are and will always be intolerant and impatient of contradiction, opinion and duplicity,” Mr Roberts said.
“Prime Minister Christie knows how to lead a country to prosperity – he did it before and we are confident that by God’s grace, he and his government will do it again.”