By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday called Prime Minister Perry Christie a “weak, confused leader” who has no control over his Cabinet and is “not fit to run this country”.
In a statement, Dr Minnis said Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe’s recent comments on Baha Mar are “the latest in a litany of rogue statements and positions made or taken by members of the Christie Cabinet that appears to be at odds with the position of the government in which they are members”.
This came a day after FNM Chairman Michael Pintard praised Mr Wilchcombe for “breaking” Cabinet ranks on the issue. Mr Pintard said while Mr Wilchcombe may be “penalised” for his differing point of view, the remarks reflect “the most reasonable course of action that should be taken by a responsible government that is committed to the speedy opening of the resort.”
On Sunday, during an interview with The Tribune, Mr Wilchcombe called for the government to suspend its winding up petition against Baha Mar, insisting that the Christie administration “continues to waste time that should be spent fixing the problem”.
Mr Wilchcombe insisted that it was never too late to rebuild broken relationships and salvage goodwill if all sides made good on declarations that they were committed to opening the resort.
“In a move that has become all too familiar to the Bahamian public, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe, in criticizing his government colleagues for fighting the Baha Mar battle in court, continues to demonstrate that Prime Minister Perry Christie has absolutely no control of his Cabinet,” Dr Minnis said.
“The tourism minister’s utterance is but the latest in a litany of rogue statements and positions made or taken by members of the Christie Cabinet that appear to be at odds with the position of the government in which they are members. To wit: the national security minister addressing the nation without the knowledge of the prime minister; Minister Wilchcombe advancing a position on the gaming laws in a surprise announcement in the House (of Assembly); Minister (Fred) Mitchell advancing a “personal position” in Trinidad on the LGBT issue while travelling as a minister (and) Minister (Alfred) Gray’s alleged interference with the judiciary.”
Dr Minnis also pointed to Minister of Immigration Fred Mitchell warning Baha Mar CEO Sarkis Izmirlian that his permanent residency status could be revoked due to his critiques about the government and Minister of Labour Shane Gibson suggesting that potential investors be screened with psychological evaluations as examples of dissonance.
“And, notoriously, Minister of State (Damian) Gomez suggesting that there are corrupt members of the government, and that the government is unwilling or unable to deal with them,” Dr Minnis added.
He said the Bahamian people should be concerned that the government under Mr Christie’s “weak leadership appears to be publicly and obviously confused and divided about its strategy of dealing with matters of national importance” such as Baha Mar.
“Perry Christie, faced with such disunity, indiscipline and breaches of the cardinal principle of collective responsibility, has nothing to say to the nation and dances his ridiculous ‘Perry Shuffle’, while the Bahamas suffers another damning downgrade by international ratings agencies,” Dr Minnis said.
“These instances of weak governance and loss of control all contribute towards the ‘institutional weaknesses’ in Christie’s Bahamas, mentioned by Standard & Poor’s in their downgrade report, specifically in reference to the Bahamian court proceedings, and which is beginning to attract the world’s attention.”
On Tuesday, the international credit rating agency downgraded the Bahamas’ credit rating and put the country’s economy on a negative outlook. This is due to expected “depressed growth” from the stalled Baha Mar resort and long-term structural weaknesses in the economy.