Cooper: Pm Pandering To Constituents

Deputy Progressive Liberal Party leader Chester Cooper.

Deputy Progressive Liberal Party leader Chester Cooper.

By Ava Turnquest

Tribune Chief Reporter


RAGGED Island MP Chester Cooper yesterday accused Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis of pandering to his constituents in a bid to score political points, and called for an apology over longstanding neglect.

In response to renewed promises of a rebuild of Ragged Island, Mr Cooper said people from the small community will not thank the government for providing basic amenities until promised facilities are complete and operational.

Dr Minnis outlined plans for an $8 million investment to rebuild key public infrastructure on the island during a televised national address Monday night. It came nearly two years after his initial promise to rebuild the hurricane-ravaged island which was devastated by Hurricane Irma. 

Mr Cooper, who also represents Exuma, questioned whether the money for Ragged Island will be included in the upcoming 2019/2020 budget, and further probed why residents had to wait for new infrastructure to restore school and nursing services.

Mr Cooper estimated there were 50 people living on the island now. In March, a Bahamas Information Services report put the figure at 32.

“To be extremely clear,” Mr Cooper’s statement read, “my experience with this administration has led me to the place where I believe nothing that is said about Ragged Island. I will believe what they do.

“This government has abandoned the people of Ragged Island in their hour of greatest need for nearly two years. That the prime minister seeks to use a televised national address to score political points on Ragged Island’s name is regrettable.

“He owes Ragged Island an apology. He should have gone to the people of Ragged Island and explained why he neglected them after the fanciful talk of rebuilding a ‘green city,’” Mr Cooper’s statement continued.

“He should have had the courage to look them in the eyes, before the minister of works said they simply have no money for Ragged Island. Parents have had to send their children away from them for schooling, something no family should have to endure. There is no basic medical care on the island. There is no postal service. Water has only recently become a reality for them.”

In September 2017, Dr Minnis promised to transform Ragged Island into the first “fully green” island in the region.

Two months later, Works Minister Desmond Bannister told reporters the FNM-administration’s plan would cost tens of millions of dollars, and included private sector and international partners.

On Monday, Dr Minnis announced plans for a school and teacher’s duplex at a cost of $2 million, a new clinic at $2.5 million, an administrator’s office, post office and court room at $2.5 million, and a police station and accommodations for officers for $1 million.

In his statement yesterday, Mr Cooper questioned why there was no timeline provided by Dr Minnis.

“Why must we wait for the completion of these buildings to restore school and nursing services when there are temporary facilities that can cover these? He talked about a solar generation facility by the end of the year. It will be interesting to see who is awarded the contract to build it after the so-called RFP process,” Mr Cooper’s statement read.

“What is to be the size of this facility? How much electricity will it generate? What is it expected to power? What is the status of the school that is yet to be built? I will start to believe it when I see shovels in the ground.

“Until then,” Mr Cooper added, “Ragged Island residents and descendants will be waiting for that apology.”


joeblow 1 year, 5 months ago

Of course no previous PLP leader or MP has ever done that , right?


TigerB 1 year, 5 months ago

"Mr Cooper estimated there were 50 people living on the island now. In March, a Bahamas Information Services report put the figure at 32."....

He is concern about 32 votes, heck the PLP has always own that seat, not sure why he is afraid now


birdiestrachan 1 year, 5 months ago

The people of Ragged Island should stand firm. otherwise others will come and take possession of their land.


Dawes 1 year, 5 months ago

Another waste of money. Why would an island of 50 people (or 32) need a court? Most of these buildings are a waste of money.


moncurcool 1 year, 5 months ago

@Dawes. Spot on. Could not agree more. Total waste.


sheeprunner12 1 year, 5 months ago

Ragged Island descendants are well endowed .......... they could easily have raised $8 million to rebuild their proud settlement of Duncan Town a long time ago .......... Dawes??????


bogart 1 year, 5 months ago

IS A TIME TO MENTION......DAT THE CLIMATE EXPERTS....ARE CONTINUOUSLY FINDING THAT CLIMATE WARMING.......ICE FIELDS WORSER THAN CALCULATED.....IN HUNDRED YEARS...WATER FEET HIGHER...HURRICANES STRONGER......examples on US...disaster in Africa....is bad.....one IDB Executive did point out concerns...on Ragged Island..but IDB...did set aside $100M loan to assist nation in after Hurricane disaster...IN US....cities Holland expert is advising on prone areas being purchased......tunnels created to re-route floods...save structures....direct flood least important area....catchment areas...draining...minimizing...its common sense....whats da point building nice roads ....infrastricture...all over which can all get flooded....?????...COPY HOLLAND....LEAST AFFECTED than FLOODS...etc....IN BAHAMAS....WHEN SAFETY IS CONCERNED.....GOVT SHOULD PURCHASE LANDS....GIVE CROWN ELSEWHERE TO CITIZENS ....GIVE THEM BONA FIDE CITIZENS RAGGED ISLAND ...MUNROE,,,MOXEY...MAYCOCK...WILSON...WALLSCE....LOCKHART...CURLING.....FREE LAND DEN ILLEGAL SQUATTERS TRY TIEFING...IN NASSAU.....BUILT UP...BUILD THEN HOUSES IN EXCHANGE.....OR BONUS FOR THEM....LET THEM BUY GOVT SUBSIDIZED LANDS...AND GET A HALF DUTY CHARGES TO BUILT HOUSES.......TURN RAGGED ISLAND HERITAGE AREA MONUMENTS...NAMES...PUBLIC....VISITING facilities....Security Manned ..BUILT .BAHAMAS ACADEMIC...CLIMATE ...HURRICANE...FLOODING...RESEARCH CENTRE.CORAL REEFS.....INVITE ALL COUNTRIES AFFDCTED ...SCIENTISTS...BE BAHAMAS DA LEADERS AUTHORITY IN WORLD ON DESE CLIMATE CHANGES....billions of dollars damages allready done.......suffering involves...at least Bahamas should CREATE...SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH CENTRE.....be the leading CLIMATE CHANGES RESEARCH ACADEMIC SCIENTISTS CENTRE....!!!!!!!!....amazing when hurricane travelling BAHAMAS has to turn on tv to watch den researchers in Europe US ....plot lines where Bahamas getting hit....in hurricane zone....


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