THE Progressive Liberal Party yesterday downplayed the announcements in Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ national address, saying it “offered no immediate economic and social relief”.
“The net result of the government’s fiscal and economic policies to date are higher unemployment and a deterioration in the performance of the public revenue,” PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell said in a statement. “These results indicate that the economy has either stalled or lost most of the momentum clearly evident when the PLP lost office eight months ago. On a human level, this means increased suffering, misery and hardship for thousands of Bahamian households.
“ ... His government has engaged in victor’s justice, deceit and mass victimisation from the date of the May 2017 general election. Targeting hard working Bahamian professionals in the public service only to settle political scores is not only cruel and inhumane but is harmful to the country.
“The prime minister’s continued acknowledgment of the qualified economic success of the Baha Mar resort is shameless. Without a word of thanks to the PLP, he has embraced Baha Mar as if it were his own. Prior to coming to office, he did everything he could to destroy this project for purely narrow, political and self-serving reasons. Without Baha Mar, he would have nothing about which to boast. He owes the PLP a debt of gratitude.
“Tonight’s speech was an indication of a prime minister filled with ambitious promises but lacking the details needed to demonstrate how his government will translate their efforts into immediate short-term relief.”
Mr Mitchell said the prime minister did not address the critical state of the country’s healthcare system nor his government’s plans for universal healthcare for Bahamians.
“Tonight there are no beds in the hospital to spare,” he said.
“There was precious little in the speech when it comes to immediate relief for Grand Bahama and nothing for the other islands.”
However on Monday night, Dr Minnis said the government is reviewing an application for the Grand Palm Beach property in West End, Grand Bahama for a project that could result in more than $2bn being spent over a ten-year period.
At the same time, he announced negotiations relating to the Grand Lucayan Resort, one of the island’s most important tourism projects, are “far from completed,” but would be wrapped up this year.
And a bid to boost access to affordable housing for Bahamians, Dr Minnis also announced the government will “provide extremely low-cost lots” to potential first-time home owners.
He also said the government will waive business licence fees for new businesses this year.