By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
FOREIGN Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell said yesterday that the Progressive Liberal Party “deserves another term in government” because its members have “better ideas” than the Free National Movement.
During his contribution to the budget debate in the House of Assembly, Mr Mitchell said he did not “enjoy his time in opposition” and he does not plan to return to it.
He said what the country needs is “continuity” in government and he is “satisfied” that in the hands of the PLP, the country is on the “best course for a stronger, safer Bahamas.”
“The idea is to win again and argue for my constituents and the Bahamian people. What we need is continuity; we should not be changing administrations. This country should have another term with the PLP,” Mr Mitchell said.
“The plain and simple fact is we have better ideas and we execute those ideas. They cannot beat us with better ideas. That is what it is all about, the ideas and execution. This is a tough time for all of us and the fact is there is much work to be done to ensure that working people, middle class families have a safer, stronger Bahamas, giving them the confidence in themselves that this is the place for them and their children. I am satisfied that we are on the best course for a stronger, safer Bahamas.”
Mr Mitchell also defended the government’s new “Stronger Bahamas” initiative, saying the website launched to promote the plan has already been viewed by thousands of Bahamians. He said the website was necessary to deliver “accurate” information to the people without the influence of “biased” reporters.
“There has been some mention about Stronger Bahamas, but we have seen the results by the number of people who have gone on the site and viewed for more than three minutes. So people are interested in the arguments we make and the whole idea is to put the government’s positions into the public domain to understand beyond the biased press. We want them to know what is actually happening in terms of policy.”
FNM Deputy Leader Peter Turnquest said recently that the new “Stronger Bahamas” government initiative is propaganda, adding that the Christie administration is “insulting” Bahamians by suggesting in an advertisement for the plan that the country has become safer.
Mr Turnquest said it appears that public funds are being used to launch the Progressive Liberal Party’s upcoming election campaign.
This week, former Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner questioned if the government practices its campaign slogan of believing in Bahamians, after Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis revealed that a Canadian public relations firm was spearheading the initiative along with several Bahamian companies.
Prime Minister Perry Christie launched the “Stronger Bahamas” initiative during his budget communication last week, presenting it as a “new, non-partisan national policy development, public engagement and communications initiative.”
At the time, he said the government had “consolidated the roughly $4m per year” that is normally spent on public engagement, research and communication to facilitate a “national conversation.”
The funding, $3.8 million, has been allocated to the Office of the Prime Minister for the upcoming fiscal year.