By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
A LONG Islander yesterday appealed to Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis not to begrudge the island out of spite for its MP Adrian Gibson, expressing fears over its depressed economic climate.
Bernard Adderley, 61, expressed dissatisfaction over the level of focus given to the island by the government in view of promises pledged on the campaign trail.
Mr Adderley, a former local government chairman, worked closely with both former Free National Movement MPs Jimmy Knowles and Larry Cartwright but left the party to endorse PLP MP Alex Storr in the 2012 election.
He campaigned for the FNM during the last election working to flip a decimated base, he claims, was in shambles due to the controversy created by the previous representative Loretta Butler-Turner.
However, Mr Adderley noted the cries of the islanders remain the same as it appears they have again been ignored by a party they ushered into government.
He lamented an increasing exodus of the island’s labour force, and pointed to pressing issues such as upgrades for Long Island’s main airport, a tariff on mailboat fees, and exorbitant energy costs.
“We can’t recover,” Mr Adderley said. “There is nothing there to recover from. If you see the government don’t make some in roads with the energy costs in this country no investor is coming here to do that. No one is coming from where you paying 15cents per kw of power, to come to a place where you paying 30 cents plus surcharge. Energy and operating costs is too high.
“If they could bring the power under control the money you save on power you can put five or six more people to work to bring unemployment down. I know they got a lot of things on their plate but you have to start somewhere because the PLP only have four people, but they looking to chew you up as much as they could.”
He continued: “I’m not going to ridicule the government but I feel some emphasis should be put on Long Island, the saving grace of the government for years and years, and I don’t feel we’ve gotten our fair shake with previous governments. We just keep voting FNM and don’t get nothing. We are industrious people and it feels like all successive governments were scared to open the gates for Long Islanders to come home.
“We’ve been trying to get one government tariff in place for years, the PLP couldn’t get a tariff in place,” he said.
“The poor people on the island ain’t making no money, the mailboat can charge you any amount of money they want to charge you. These are things the Ministry of Transport should have already addressed.”
He added: “The recall system, they made a pledge they were going to do it. These are the things that affecting us, if we can’t get it from the political parties we elect we want to know what are they intending to do.”
Shortly following the general election, Long Island MP Adrian Gibson expressed disappointment in not being appointed to the Cabinet, telling The Nassau Guardian that his constituents also expressed similar views.
The Tribune understands it was expected the 32-year-old MP would be given a “seat at the table” and a portfolio that included Family Island development.
Yesterday, Mr Adderley suggested Mr Gibson’s public comments had drawn the ire of Dr Minnis.
“Nothing is happening, everybody in Long Island trying to figure out when they gonna do something or what they gonna do. He (Mr Gibson) is not in the clique with the government, that stupid statement. Dr Minnis had him in the black book from then.
“Don’t beat us with that stick, we want to know through some way and means what they intend to do, we can’t get it from him (Mr Gibson) because he don’t know himself. We want to know are they going to extend the airport runway and remain there. The seawall is another situation, when are they going to award whoever is going to do the work?
“And we need some injection somewhere to jumpstart the island, to get people back to work. If we don’t do something there won’t be anybody left on Long Island, there’s no labour force. Everybody leaving.”
“Our population in the last election was very low,” Mr Adderley added.
“I want to let them know they have to say something and do something, as far as businesses are concerned. There is actually nothing happening.”