By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
NEWLY re-elected Free National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis said if elected in 2017, his party will create inner city “tax free zones” and develop a new plan, more efficient than the current government’s policies, to “stomp out crime.”
Addressing hundreds of FNM supporters and delegates at the Holy Trinity Activities Centre on Friday night, Dr Minnis said now that the internal election is over, it is time for all FNMs to work together to build the “kind of country Bahamians want”.
He said the party must also focus on winning the 2017 general election.
Dr Minnis said in 2017, there will be a new government, a new vision, a new FNM and a new Bahamas.”
“My vision includes transformation of urban centres, and communities. No more public relation exercises where one house out of 500 is touched while other families struggle to feed their children,” Dr Minnis said in an apparent criticism of the government’s Urban Renewal 2.0 programme.
“I will no longer tolerate the wholesale neglect of our inner cities. Change is coming! I will lead a government that will provide incentives to residents and businesses who participate in meaningful ways in our community revitalisation programme. This will involve inner city tax free zones. Our people must live in dignity.
“Habitats that breed criminality must be fundamentally changed. If we are to change their lives, we must first start by changing their environment,” Dr Minnis said.
He added that crime continues to be a major concern but stressed that a Minnis administration would veer away from PLP policies.
“As prime minister, your safety and security will be my top priority. Crime is a multifaceted problem and we must address it in the same manner. We must provide our police with all the necessary tools to do their jobs. But we also need a transparent and accountable police force that our citizens trust. We must support local community groups and churches. We will bring real community policing. We must build a country where our laws are enforced and all are accountable for their actions.”
Dr Minnis also promised to restore “faith in politicians” by enforcing the Freedom of Information Act and passing a Fiscal Responsibility Act along with the Contractors Bill.
He said: “We must restore the public trust in politicians, public officials and public servants and we must lead by example. We will abide by the law and insist that every citizen does so. Investors must never complain or even hint that government officials require payment for approval. We will have integrity in governance.
“We must ensure that every Bahamian is treated fairly by their government and will provide an independent ombudsman who will give the public a voice and will advocate for them. We will have equity in governance. The FNM has led the way on government reform and we will continue, we must remember the principles our party was founded on. Selflessness, transparency, accountability, and honesty – remember we are the government in the sunshine and will fight against the blatant and rampant corruption of the PLP!”
Dr Minnis was returned to the FNM’s top post in a landslide victory.
East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest and Senator Michael Pintard were unofficially announced as the new FNM deputy leader and FNM chairman respectively.
According to Mr Pintard, the party is expected to meet today to recount the ballots and the results should be certified by noon.