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‘Believing In Bahamians?’

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE Free National Movement ramped up its criticism of the Christie administration’s “Stronger Bahamas” initiative yesterday, with Leader Dr Hubert Minnis and former Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner both criticising the government for hiring a foreign public relations firm to help market the programme.

State Minister for Finance Michael Halkitis confirmed during a radio talk show that a foreign firm has been hired to help the government with its plan.

According to Dr Minnis, this proves the Christie administration does not believe in Bahamians.

In a press statement released yesterday, Mrs Butler-Turner revealed the identity of the firm – Fleishman-Hillard – a public relations and marketing agency based in Canada. Local companies, including Sidda Communications Group, are also helping with the campaign.

However, the Long Island MP said this is a blatant use of taxpayer’s money to “help run a propaganda campaign” as she questioned how much the Canadian firm is being paid.

“The use of a foreign firm in such an effort in no way helps to make the Bahamas stronger. Instead it sends money overseas that should have remained in the Bahamas, putting Bahamians first, circulating money in our local economy,” she said. “This is yet another shameful abuse of the public purse by the PLP.

“The PLP’s latest propaganda effort uses government funds to run broadcast and print ads as well as to develop and maintain a website to push PLP propaganda.”

Stronger Bahamas was scheduled for an official launch at the Melia hotel last night – with food, drink and live entertainment – but it was postponed due to Prime Minister Perry Christie’s travel schedule.

However, The Tribune obtained a memo outlining “talking points” for the initiative sent to Cabinet ministers and MPs. At the bottom of the memo, politicians are urged to contact a representative of Fleishman-Hillard on a local cell phone number if they have any questions.

Among other things, the talking points said: “Stronger Bahamas is a new vision for the Bahamas to work together for a safe, prosperous and modern future. We as a government want people to know what is being done to address the nation’s top issues of crime, jobs and the economy, and education and social programmes. Stronger Bahamas is non-partisan. No matter your politics, religion, island of residence, age or gender, Stronger Bahamas promotes unity and encourages all Bahamians to work together towards building a safe, prosperous, modern future.”

Reacting to this, Mrs Butler-Turner lamented that the government appears to be using taxpayer’s money to spread the Progressive Liberal Party’s message.

“It seems that a foreign consultant is here in the Bahamas, whose company is being paid at taxpayer’s expense for a partisan propaganda effort,” she added. “Is this individual here on a temporary work permit? Why is a foreign individual engaged in work which can be done by Bahamians?”

Mrs Butler-Turner also noted that while Stronger Bahamas is purported to be a non-partisan venture, the Progressive Liberal Party has connections to the foreign firm marketing the programme.

“Allyn & Company Inc, which was acquired by Fleishman-Hillard, worked with the PLP previously and is now being paid at taxpayer’s expense to help the party now that it is in office,” she said.

“The Stronger Bahamas propaganda campaign is one of gross hypocrisy, a misuse of government funds, a boondoggle for foreign individuals, and part of an elaborate PLP effort to distract from its failures and to prepare for the next election,” she said.

The government has allocated nearly $4 million to the Office of the Prime Minister for the upcoming fiscal year for “advertisements and media supplements.”

Last week, Mr Christie told Parliament the government had “consolidated the roughly $4m per year” that is normally spent on public engagement, research and communication to facilitate a “national conversation.” It is unclear how much of this will be spent on Stronger Bahamas.

Mrs Butler-Turner asked why this money was not diverted to more critical areas, such as Social Services or scholarships.

Comments

duppyVAT 4 years, 6 months ago

BelieveinBahamians 2.0 is the beginning of the PLP 2017 political campaign ........ where is the ISIS hackers when you need them ??????????????? This PerryPLP 2.0 needs to be banned from The Bahamas.for GOOD......................... SMDH

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asiseeit 4 years, 6 months ago

Whats the use. This country has the morals of a flea. A Bahamian would sell their soul for a few pieces of copper. Money is the only god Bahamians know. Two bit, backwards, corrupt, island nation for sale, that is a fact. How proud our leaders must be.

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vinceP 4 years, 6 months ago

Listen,

I'm so tired of y'all sheepish Bahamians. Listen, as long as y'all idiots keep voting PLP/FNM, then y'all won't get anything different.

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Hogfish 4 years, 6 months ago

they did the same thing right after they got elected.

Spent the peoples taxes to a foreign company to pay for a whole buch of brochure or flyer about what they were doing or waht they wanted to do. - i think that was it...(crs- cant remember shit!)

Never saw nothing though, dumbasses realised that would be putting things in writing.. But the money was gone though. Again to foreigners.

Plenny Bahamians in marketing you know.

Bahamians first? - stop talking shit.

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asiseeit 4 years, 6 months ago

For those that have no brain and have not figured it out yet, the slogan "believe in Bahamians" is just that, a slogan that got them elected and which not one of them believe in. Say it slow so you don't forget it, YOU GET SWING! But that's alright because Bahamians just do not seem to be that smart when it comes to politicians taking them for a ride, yinna be like at the carnival, never mind the ride almost killed you (the country) you super intelligent set want to do it all again.

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TalRussell 4 years, 6 months ago

Comrade Asiseeit the brain child behind the slogan "Believe in Bahamalanders" was out the sperm bank of the Canadian PR firm, Bahamalander taxpayers paid four million dollars.This PLP cabinet believes in Bahamalander's - but not if ya is in the PR kinds business. What hypocrisy, you hire a Canadian firm and pay them four million taxpayers dollars to come up with a slogan - "Believe in Bahamalanders."

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birdiestrachan 4 years, 6 months ago

It is to bad MS: Butler Turner and Dr: Minnis had nothing to say when their Papa spent Hundreds of thousands on road works to a foreign Company Now that was big money. Now they find their mouth when it is small change. they come across as hypocrites of the highest order.

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asiseeit 4 years, 6 months ago

Hey dumbie, the roads are for every Bahamian, even you. The propaganda machine is for the PLP and the PLP only. Get it. One benefits the entire nation, the other benefits a political party. Even you should see what is what. One looked out for EVERYBODY the other is looking out for his legacy. Which will benefit your grandchildren? Also, news flash, the man is RETIRED, DONE, FINISHED as PGC should be!

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justthefactsplease 4 years, 6 months ago

@birdiestrachan...maybe if you read a little more and stop being so political you would have know that the money for the roads came from the IDB which requires that contracts of a certain size HAVE to include international bidders and will be given to the best choice...foreign or local. The decision was not solely that of the government.

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FNM_Retards 4 years, 6 months ago

More excuses from the low life FNM traitors.

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Alltoomuch 4 years, 6 months ago

Birdie at least we can see the roads and drive on them!!

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Alltoomuch 4 years, 6 months ago

and btw how much was spent on Defence Force boats? and how many of those do we have? and what good are they doing??

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asiseeit 4 years, 6 months ago

Well the ones that they have not broken are at the dock with the ones that they have broken, so? Anyone know if they fixed the one that was being used as a taxi to Andros?

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BahamaPundit 4 years, 6 months ago

Here's how it works and the reason they use a foreign company. PLP spokesman contacts said company in Canada and says need to do promotional work and agrees on fee of 1 million 800 thousand dollars. Then, PLP spokesman informs Canadian company that shell company X must be paid a finder's fee of 2 million dollars for locating them or the deal is off. Canadian company agrees and invoices Bahamas Government 3 million 8 hundred thousand dollars. 2 million dollars is paid into shell company X and divided between select cabinet ministers.

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birdiestrachan 4 years, 6 months ago

Yes Indeed "A stronger Bahamas" It is a good thing for all those who love the Bahamas and would love to see the Bahamas progress. Not every one steals. why is it that so many people believe people are stealing? In fact Dr: Minnis said they are using his ideas. Now that is very funny. No matter who drives on the roads the Contract for at least two or three hundred million dollars was given to a foreign company and the money left the Bahamas. BTC was sold to the British, Bahamians were told not to apply. Cable Bahamas was sold to the Canadians and they were given a 15 year monopoly. It may be Bahamian owned now after the Canadians made their millions.so Butler Turner and the FNM's cannot talk, they are beating up their mouth over small things, and they do not come with clean hands.

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asiseeit 4 years, 6 months ago

Maybe the reason so many people believe that people are stealing is the fact that this is a small country and these things get out. Bahamians do not know how to keep their mouth shut. Ever hear about "where there is smoke there is fire", well there sure as hell is a massive smoke cloud over the Bahamas. Also, you keep harping on the same Things. Let me help you, the road works where done with a lone from The IDB, therefore the tender for the works was mandated to go out to all interested party's and the IDB had to approve the final contractor, by the way IDB stands for International Development Bank. Now sure the Canadians came in and used their capitol to set up Cable Bahamas, They also sold shares to Bahamains for $1 a share, those same shares are worth 14.50 a share and Bahamians have been making money in the form of dividends since the day those shares went on sale to the PUBLIC i.e. BAHAMIANS. BTC was sold and thank god it was, I could not imagine what this government would do/use it for. Buying votes was what it was used for. Birdie, the more you speak, the more brainwashed/fanatical you come across as. NO political party in this country deserves to gloat. No political party in this country is clean/not corrupt. Stop trying to be smart, you are not. Try being HONEST, in the least you may stand a chance at succeeding at that. Stronger Bahamas is a election campaign just kicking into gear that is put together by the same people that gave the PLP the slogan "believe in Bahamians". It stinks of political parlor tricks and seems like a way for the PLP to use the PEOPLES money to pay for their election campaign. I know most of this will fly over your 1950's brain but hey, if you don't try and enlighten people they will never learn.

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realfreethinker 4 years, 6 months ago

FNM_Retards is the second biggest ass here. He/she or it is a real retard,who need to crawl back in that rat hole he she it came out of

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FNM_Retards 4 years, 6 months ago

You need to crawl back to your worthless FNM facebook group you low life FNM terrorist. The truth hurts and you FNM retards feel that. Yall raped and pillaged the Bahamas for 15years. So now Fk the FNM and fk its supporters.

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BahamaPundit 4 years, 6 months ago

The reason they hardly use US companies in their deals, road paving etc, is because the US has implemented Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Dodd-Frank Act. This act makes it illegal to engage in finders fees etc. I don't just want to pick on the PLP. Can you imagine the finder's fees the FNM received for the road construction and sale of BTC. Probably, twenty million or so in finder's fees are sitting in a Swiss bank account for FNM ministers. This has got to stop!

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BahamaPundit 4 years, 6 months ago

My uncle said it well. He called the politicians of the Bahamas a bunch of nothings. I would add a bunch of nothings but thieves.

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FNM_Retards 4 years, 6 months ago

This should read .....

"Believing in Bahamians?"

By RASHAD ROLLE - FNM supporter, Tribune Staff Reporter

Otherwise the title would be a whole lot more than what it is.

This entire article is simply Propaganda for the FNM retards.

ROTFLMAO at every word of it.

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asiseeit 4 years, 6 months ago

Nothing more than a foreign bag man. At least with the crappy FNM you get SOMETHING that everyone can benefit from. How would the bird like to be only able to watch ZNS? How about only being able to listen to ZNS? The roads may have cost an arm and a leg but each and every driver in Nassau has benefited from them. BTC, was a political tool and they are saying that government makes more owning only half than when it owned all. That tells you how well the government manages things, they do not, just look at BEC and BahamasAir, failures the both of them. Once again, I say NO government, or political party in The Bahamas has the right to gloat, have pride in their work, they are BOTH lacking in a major way. The difference is the PLP looks out for the PLP PERIOD, while the FNM at least on the surface tried to help the ENTIRE nation. Also when the road works where going on the PAC (headed by the PLP) was not castrated, With Bamsi and urban the PLP will not allow the PAC do it's job. I wonder why? What are they hiding? If they are not guilty, why not open the books?

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FNM_Retards 4 years, 6 months ago

Actually bowtard, there are only a couple roads they did and therefore those couple roads are only for people that actually travel those roads or more importantly people that live in those areas, and those couple roads were poorly designed and now create more traffic congestion in most cases. 99.99999% of the roads in Nassau were never touched and are still full of potholes and craters, or the other roads they did simply fell to pieces again. You and I and birdie most certainly did NOT get our moneys worth and we most certainly WERE ripped off by that foreign 3rd world company the dumb retarded FNM suckers hired. FNM and PLP are both retarded. FNM and PLP both only look out for each other, they are no different. Both are corrupt and full of scandals. Ofcourse the FNM and PLP supporters would say otherwise, but they are just dummies so their opinions mean nothing.

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asiseeit 4 years, 6 months ago

That anger that you carry around all day is not healthy. It must be hard being the head asshole in a nation of retards.

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FNM_Retards 4 years, 6 months ago

Truth hurts and you felt it hard.

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asiseeit 4 years, 6 months ago

The truth that you are the head of a clan or that the FNM gave us better roads, open airwaves, dredged the harbour, moved the container port, and so much more while you cry because they did not give you a contract?

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FNM_Retards 4 years, 6 months ago

More silly talking points from the FNM propaganda machine - the roads suck, airways were always open (VOIP was $30,000 fine under the FNM by the way), harbour was ever dredged, container port move was a fck up, should have been moved elsewhere. And not looking for any contract. I dont work for criminals and FNM and their supporters are low life criminal terrorists and traitors. Now, got anything of substance you piece of crap?

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asiseeit 4 years, 6 months ago

A bounty on corrupt politicians? How much does corruption cost each and every Bahamian? I would say well over a thousand dollars. Lost education, lost development, lost economy, lost chances for advancement. Productivity? Outright Theft? A bounty on the corrupt scum would be cheap compared to what corruption costs this country. Can you imagine where this country could be if our leaders really WORKED for the country? Could ou imagine if everyone had to play by the same rules and those rules where laid out fair and square? The more I think about this bounty on corrupt scum the more I want it to happen. If every Bahamian put say $10 in the fund, boy we could catch some slime ball, dead easy. Bahamians love money, this would be a way for them to make money AND help their nation. 0

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FNM_Retards 4 years, 6 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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FNM_Retards 4 years, 6 months ago

SO THE FNM "ASISEEIT" POSTED HE WANTS BOUNTIES ON POLITICIANS AND WHEN I REPLY TO HOW SHITTY AN IDEA THAT IS, MY POST GETS DELETED. SO THIS MEANS THE TRIBUNE SITE STAFF APPROVE BOUNTIES ON POLITICIANS - WTF*

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2424bahamians 4 years, 6 months ago

My fellow Bahamians many of you are missing the point. How can one party preach believe in Bahamians and themselves don't believe in us. Foreign PR is just a small example of our corrupt nation, what about road works Bahamar , have we forgotten about the newly built airport. All politicians promise new jobs but the only jobs going are temporary jobs maybe a year maybe 2 nothing long term except money in the politicians pocket. We just had a tax placed on us where is that money going? As soon as it was implemented Prime Minister Christie wants $10 MILLION to revamp his house? a house not even worth $10 million on the market. HMMM maybe that's where the VAT wento . Not to mention its his private home not the government house. tax payers money on his private home FLIP. Foreign maid foreign teachers foreign managers and in hotel are you saying we are not capable of managing hotels or teach or clean and watch children. If so then the government programs have lets us down so why should we believe in Bahamians when in truth Government does not believe in us . Unless we giving them tax dollars and gambling money to their web shops

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Alltoomuch 4 years, 6 months ago

And as for PAC and BAMSI & Urban Renewal where has that gone? now we have all this laying reports in the House about the money spent on providing the 52week program way back when. Why did this suddenly assume all this urgency!? More providing smokescreens! Instead of dealing with the issues NOW!

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