By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
FREE National Movement Chairman Michael Pintard said that FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis relishes the chance to demonstrate the “clear difference” between him and whoever emerges as the leader of the PLP through a national debate.
Senator Pintard yesterday insisted that while calls by Prime Minister Perry Christie for a debate with the opposition leader are nothing more than a “last-ditch effort” to appeal to the one quality he has used over the years to mask his incompetence – “sweet-talk” – Dr Minnis stands ready to prove that he is the best leader for the Bahamas.
He said the years of eloquent pronouncements by Mr Christie have not been accompanied by concrete actions that have resulted in transforming Bahamian lives.
“(Mr) Christie talks a great deal, but delivers very little,” Mr Pintard said in a statement. “He prides himself on the ability to speak extemporaneously, however, he does not place the same importance in governing. No doubt, one important requirement of leadership is to be able to articulate vision and plan of action. But if we stop there the desired or stated outcome is not achieved.”
“While Perry G Christie has become overly reliant on the gift of speech, Dr Hubert Minnis continues to demonstrate the leadership abilities in his private and public life that the new Bahamas needs. One thing is becoming clear to the outgoing prime minister is that even when he can muster a good message people know that he is all talk and lacks the capabilities to ‘walk the walk’ – Mr Christie is simply the wrong person to lead The Bahamas.”
According to Senator Pintard, Mr Christie continues to talk a good game but fails to honour promises he freely makes. Speaking directly to Mr Christie’s address to the 2015 Caribbean Investment Summit in London last week when the nation’s leader urged foreign investors to seriously consider the Caribbean region, Senator Pintard said Mr Christie is in an “exceptionally weak position” in the wake of the Baha Mar debacle.
“…. Especially on the heels of him questioning the mental health of one of the largest investors in the region because they had a difference of opinion on the stalled Baha Mar development.”
He added that The Bahamas has the ability to be a blue chip investment destination, but requires capable leadership that is creative, energetic and forward-looking.
“The Christie-Davis led administration is not such a leadership,” he added.
Mr Pintard said the FNM has challenged the government to work with the private sector and civil society to “cultivate an economic and investment climate” that would make The Bahamas both attractive and competitive.
He proposed that the government set up and publish a clear outline of rules-based requirements that investors must meet if they are to receive approvals to do business in The Bahamas while honouring established timelines for answering investors’ questions and granting approvals once requirements are met.
Senator Pintard said the government should vigorously promote the types of developments that it desires to see throughout The Bahamas so that marketing efforts would be targeted to attract investors interested in such areas.
He also called for the introduction of legislation, policies and programmes that would help the diversification of the Bahamian economy, adding that every effort should be made to ensure that this is a well-regulated jurisdiction that is still considered low tax for potential investors and second homeowners.
“Government should move swiftly to reduce the cost of energy through implementing the renewable agenda and liberalising the energy sector. The high cost of energy is a drag on economic growth and development. No efforts should be spared to create a world-class workforce that would make the introduction of a wide range of businesses possible in this market,” said Senator Pintard.
He added: “The government should ease the burden of accessing capital locally and internationally so that entrepreneurs and investors may fund start-ups and expansion. We renew the call made since 1992 to establish an ombudsman and government should also expand the consumer protection infrastructure so as to facilitate transparency in business and protection of consumers.”