RESPONDING to criticism of its performance so far, the governing Progressive Liberal Party laid the blame for the current state of affairs squarely on the shoulders of the former administration.
Singling out FNM party chairman Darron Cash for particular censure, the PLP issued a statement calling on the opposition to remember why they were ousted from office.
“Try as they may to duck, dodge, avoid and deflect from the significant role the Free National Movement government played in creating the national mess they left behind on May 7, 2012, Mr Cash and the FNM are reminded that they were removed from office for their incompetence and poor stewardship of the Bahamian economy,” the statement said.
It said the FNM inherited a robust and thriving economy in 2007, but through a series of policy missteps, they accelerated the country’s economic decline.
“Their policy of tax and spend failed miserably and the FNM allowed political spite to drive their economic and investment policies to the detriment of thousands of Bahamian families.
“The decision to defer and delay viable projects hurt the economy and made the recession worse. Further, the FNM government was unable to secure new capital injection to stimulate the local economy and government spending was unsustainable,” the PLP said.
The statement said public projects designed to stimulate the economy were “woefully mismanaged” and the public did not receive value for money as a result.
“The New Providence Road Improvement; the Jump Start business assistance programme and the Fifty-Two Week Jobs Training Programme are a few examples of the wanton wastage of scarce public resources by the FNM.
“The PLP calls on the government to hold public hearings on the administration of these programmes in the public interest. Mr Cash should welcome these investigations as transparency and accountability are two of the principle pillars of a functional democracy and their applications do not a witch hunt make,” the party said.
“Having spectacularly failed the Bahamian people on virtually every key performance indicator, Mr Cash and the FNM now want the Bahamian people to quickly forget their atrocious governance of the country. He now vigorously defends his party’s policy on BTC – a policy he publicly scorned and repudiated just recently.
“The low prices and superior services promised by the FNM and its cabinet ministers never materialised in the wake of the national giveaway yet Mr Cash continues in his defence of the indefensible.”
As for the PLP government, the party said the official record reveals that almost 2,000 jobs were added to the economy between May and October of last year.
“This is good news. This places the PLP on pace to create well over 20,000 jobs in its current term.
“We applaud the government’s pro-growth strategy, no new taxes in the first two fiscal years and its bold new initiative to broaden the tax base, effectively bringing about a fairer tax distribution system.
“These initiatives will no doubt reposition the economy of the Bahamas for long term economic recovery, sustained growth, improved revenue performance and prosperity for all Bahamians.”