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Turnquest: Plp Should Help Fix Things, Not Just Criticise

In this picture from September 8th, a road cuts through the rubble of homes that belong to the same family, destroyed by Hurricane Dorian in Rocky Creek, East End, Grand Bahama. Photo: Ramon Espinosa/AP

In this picture from September 8th, a road cuts through the rubble of homes that belong to the same family, destroyed by Hurricane Dorian in Rocky Creek, East End, Grand Bahama. Photo: Ramon Espinosa/AP

AS the government forges ahead with plans to restore storm-ravaged islands, Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest said the country would be better served if the official opposition made contributions on fixing issues rather than criticising efforts.

The Progressive Liberal Party on Sunday described the Minnis administration’s handling of Grand Bahama and Abaco following Hurricane Dorian’s passage as “scattered and unfocused”.

Responding, Mr Turnquest said this was an unprecedented situation that “knocked” this country to its knees.

“…The fact of the matter is this is an incident that is unprecedented in terms of the scale of it, in terms of the diversity of the islands and communities, which it impacted. So it’s easy to criticise.

“I think it would be more useful for the opposition to contribute to the debate in terms of how we address these issues going forward and support us in the efforts that we’re trying to do to bring some normalcy to our citizens.”

The Minnis administration has also had to worry about economic restoration in Abaco and Grand Bahama, Mr Turnquest telling The Tribune officials were certainly concerned about businesses returning to those islands.

According to the Abaco Chamber of Commerce recently, some business owners there have said they won’t return.

Similarly a few merchants in the nation’s second city are of the same view.

However, Mr Turnquest said yesterday that it was vital for all businesses to return to ensure there is an “economic revival” on both islands, which account for 18 percent of the nation’s GDP.

He said the government was doing everything it could to make it less expensive for merchants to rebuild after Dorian left many with nothing.

“In order for us to rebound fully we need all of our entrepreneurs, all of our businesses to come back and to participate in this economic revival,” the deputy prime minister said in response to a question from The Tribune.

“We’re certainly from our part as the government doing all that we can to incentivise and to encourage all of those businesses to come back.

“As you would know the prime minister has indicated there’s a package of incentives that we’ve put forward through loans, through grants, through joint ventures and through private sector lending commercial banks and other agencies.

“We’re putting together this whole package to try and support the entrepreneur class so that they do come back and we make it as inexpensive for them to get back in to business.

“So whatever we do from the government side we’re certainly trying to facilitate that.”

He also said: “The fact of the matter is that the two islands, Abaco and Grand Bahama, account for some 18 percent of our GDP and so we need them to be performing and we need them to be producing at the levels or even exceeding the levels that they’ve done before.

“We believe that there is going to be a tremendous amount of opportunity in these islands in the short terms (and) in the medium terms as a result of all the reconstruction that is going to be necessary.

“So whether it’s in the service industry, whether it’s in the food industry, whether it’s in housing or whether it’s in construction there’s going to be opportunities in these islands and so I would encourage business people (to return).”

Mr Turnquest continued: “We’ve been knocked down and we’re down on our knees. However we’ve been here before in that respect and we’ve been able to bounce back, slow as it may have been.

“But I think we have to take advantage of this opportunity, see it as an opportunity to create new business opportunities and to take advantage of the situation and to produce and create employment and create wealth for ourselves.”

He said despite some business owners saying they were prepared to set up shop on other islands, there was tremendous interest in government offered incentives and waivers.

In late September, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said Abaco and East Grand Bahama would be designated as Economic Recovery Zones. He said at the time that a $10m loan guarantee and equity financing facility would be available for enterprises to either help them re-open or create new businesses. An applicant will be able to secure a maximum of $500,000.

Comments

TalRussell 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Given that the Imperialists red shirts cabinet's public rebuffing, not one but two of the colony's former twice and thrice terms serving comrade prime ministers, seems score high as a fake shout out by the colony's finance minister, yes, no ..

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BahamasForBahamians 2 weeks, 5 days ago

WIth all thats going on his constituency and by extension the country... this man has the time to respond the opposition?

Priorities are out of the window.

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TigerB 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Maybe you not living in Grand Bahama or Abaco, because no one who is living in those 2 islands has time to listen to political foolishness... people on both islands have lost their lives and are hurting.. we need to leave politics out of this storm. Chester and Brave them trying to turn this into a political storm, it's not. They will not get into any house of assembly with this. For the most part, we here in Grand Bahama are quite satisfied with the response and efforts put forth by the government. I don't know about Abaco, I don't live there. From what I see here the government will take those 5 seats again without McAlpine!

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The_Oracle 2 weeks, 5 days ago

KPT took the high ground. Well done. He has been open and receptive to private sector suggestions made for high level directives to work and function at ground level. Well Done. He has schlepped Cases of water and relief supplies. Well done. Where are the PLP? Where is the opposition? In absentia save a mouthpiece armchair quarterbacking? Sit down son. Learn something about staring in the face of adversity, and overcoming.

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SP 2 weeks, 5 days ago

The PLP couldn't "fix" anything when they were the government, why would anyone expect hem to help fix anything now?

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Giordano 2 weeks, 4 days ago

The country would be far much better also if current elected Officials stop building complicities of CORRUPTION with citizens who try hard to hold,in themselves, human values in The Bahamas like integrity,honesty and being transparent,specially those new ones who really complied with the "Public Disclosure Act" also those who tryed hard to implement decency,human dignity and respect among all who deserve better like the national media that has been bullied for so many years now unable to expose officials corruption and keeping alive "The History" in the mind of the Bahamian Population in order not to repeat so many bad actions from public elected officials who seems to be perpetuating like "A Constitutional Corruption" leaving a legacy of death and an apparent incurable social illness of homicides and cleptocracy,exercised at the high level of government with a "big time of impunity " palpable by those who live down the vally. Those who live in "The Mountains ' Top" (The Minority) keep moving all the way to and from the bank with the money stolen from The Bahamian People.

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The_Oracle 2 weeks, 4 days ago

How about a 10 year sentence following summary conviction of NMEA staff or seconded RBDF Marines caught stealing Generators and hurricane relief supplies in Nassau or affected islands? That would go a long way to cleaning up the corruption. Top to bottom, they all cherry pick what they want first. Then friends and family. The sell some.Then send the rest to some church or other to sort and distribute. NEMA = DISGRACEFUL Behavior in full public view. Videos on line.

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