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Minnis Pledges 'Tax-Free Zones'

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

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.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 3 years ago

I dont know if its all talk, but FINALLY someone who at least sounds like they know what Urban Renewal really means...it is economic investment in the inner city, driving business to the inner city to create jobs, it is NOT Social Services, although they can work hand in hand. Will it work? Who knows, but that is urban renewal, not the grocery programme currently being used as a slush fund

An independent ombudsman? That sounds good too, wonder what kind of power he'll have, the public accounts committee seems pretty impotent at the moment

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TheMadHatter 3 years ago

Another policy to help the poor multiply into more poor? Wow. Do we really need more poor people in this country?

Why should a poor family be allowed to have five children, and then Govt comes along and "helps" them to have another two - making a total of 7 children - meanwhile I can barely afford to support my 2 children?

Why should they have 7 children to rely on in their old age, and I can only have 2? What if one of my children were to die in a car accident? Then i would only have one.

This is a very unfair policy that will reward people for being poor, multiplying like rabbits, and feeding their children Ramen noodles which have six times the amount of salt as a bag of potato chips. Look at the food that poor children are given to eat !!!! Why are the parents not charged with child abuse for that?

TheMadHatter

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TalRussell 3 years ago

In the first hours of holding onto reds leadership post Comrade Minnis is showing he is an outsider, stranger facts. What exactly is his idea behind pledges of “Tax-Free Zones? Obliviously, “Zones” means more than one. Is he talking about separate communities or just designated buildings scattered across Bahamaland? Is Minnis saying the Freeport Duty Zones are even necessary so many years after the Hawksbill Agreement was created, not mention- if VAT is really to replace import duties? Many believe Arawak Cay was created under the Hubert and Minnis regime’s exclusive government considerations protections? Why should any business have play bey completely different rules than their Freeport counterparts? Hasn't the "private" owners of Freeport, long ago gotten many times their investment returned?

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birdiestrachan 3 years ago

The Doctor with all of his promises of what he will do.. should tell the Bahamian people where will the money come from .?/ He has voted no to Vat and no to web shop gaming.. The country is deep in debt... Doctor `tell the Bahamian people who will pay the taxes in order for you to create these zones, Talk sense and put a stop to empty promises or should I say out right lies. You fellows are so good at telling lies.

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TheMadHatter 3 years ago

I agree completely. As much as the PLP has faults - I must commend them highly (and growing up I never thought I would say anything good about the PLP) - but I must commend them highly for their stance on VAT and illegal immigration. Free clinics and free schools are not actually free. Money is need to pay teachers, do maintenance, buy supplies, pay power etc. Jobs? Well of course there are only so many businesses in the entire Bahamas. Of course there are a lot - but still it is a certain number. If you have MORE people than those available jobs can support - then you have unemployment. Only a fool would import more people into the country, to apply for fewer jobs. Yes, I do hope Dr. Minnis understands money. Money is needed to pay for things. Everyone knows this, and I am so glad the PLP Govt is now teaching the average Bahamian about this fact. You want Govt services????? You want free schools and clinics? Time to pay da man.

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TheMadHatter 3 years ago

Tal, I normally agree with most of what you post on here - but I am disappointed (and surprised) to learn that you are anti-Freeport. When the FNM came to power in 1992 they began a destructive campaign against Freeport. Prior to that they had always claimed that Freeport was "FNM Country". We were sure glad it was, because we don't know what they would have done to us worse - had we not been - LOL.

The decline of Freeport hit a rapid downward slope after 1992.

When I moved to Nassau some years later, I kept meeting more and more friends from Freeport who had moved to Nassau because of scarce employment back home (ie. Freeport).

This of course had a negative effect on persons in Nassau (and other out islands) looking for work in Nassau - because many Freeport people were taking those jobs due to their generally higher education, better work and office skills, computer skills, English speaking skills, etc.

Freeport people have always been "a cut above", better educated, and yes Freeport was the real capital of the Bahamas - and that is surely why Hubert and Perry (both disciples of Pindling) carry on his war against "a country within a country" even to this day.

Unfortunately, that silly war is serving to bring the whole country down with it. As Freeport has sunk deeper into the ocean, so has the rest of the Bahamas economy. I joked with a friend of mine the other week who came to me and said if I could help him; he was looking for a good job. I said - man, if you were looking for a bad job right now you won't find it, so don't even mention a good job.

But - whatever Tat - you guys keep up the war against Freeport (and them foreign owners up there), and keep getting your just rewards. It's a choice to have a bad economy.

TheMadHatter

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realfreethinker 3 years ago

themadhatter you cant be serious about the fnm screwing Freeport. The container port, the shipyard,bradford marine just the name a few went there during the fnm watch. It's a good thing they are still there because aint nothing else happening there.

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Publius 3 years ago

He did not come up with these ideas, these ideas regarding urban areas are from his Party's last election manifesto. But who really cares about facts these days anyway right?

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SP 3 years ago

As long as the PLP or FNM are the sole two political powers, this country will never change and certainly will not ever go anywhere.

We must establish a third and even forth parties that win seats in order to create coalition government.

Then and only then will the dynamics be in place to hold the P.M. to fire!

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duppyVAT 3 years ago

What is a "tax-free zone"?????????? We have Freeport and look at what that has come to after 60 years.............. Grand Bahama has become more dependent to government thn most other Family Islands.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years ago

This guy Minnis only won an internal party election because he was up against an even bigger (no pun intended) loser, namely LBT. He's seen celebrating as if he had won a general election. Minnis though remains a real loser of a leader for the FNM, with absolutely no focus on or vision for the vital improvements that must be made to our failed grade D- education system or the sound economic policies that must be put in place to create a significant number of decent paying jobs for Bahamians on a sustained basis. The poor doc will forever remain tone deaf and out of touch when it comes to the fundamental needs of the Bahamian people and what matters most to reducing out-of-control crime, stamping out corruption and improving the quality of life for all Bahamians.

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