Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine.
By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
GRAND Bahama is “worse off” since the Minnis administration - which won all five constituency seats on the island - was elected to office, claims Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine.
“The harsh reality is, Grand Bahama has gotten worse despite all the political positions and so-called power,” the controversial FNM backbencher said during his contribution to the budget in the House last week.
“I have to make this confession, Grand Bahama did better with less political power. Five and we still took a dive! Add three and Grand Bahama is still not free! A total of eight and we still can’t get it straight!”
Mr McAlpine said that in Grand Bahama, unemployment is high, a proper hospital is needed, hurricane reconstruction is dismal, and the Grand Lucayan project has yet to start despite a heads of agreement signing.
He noted that in Grand Bahama, industrial companies are “laying off left, right and centre.”
Mr McAlpine also claimed that the Disaster Reconstruction Authority established by the Minnis administration is dismal at best. “We are already in another hurricane season and many people’s homes are still unlivable,” he added.
Additionally, he said that designated government shelters are still not ready.
“This government implemented legislation called mandatory evacuation and we’ve not built one hurricane-proof shelter for the people to evacuate to. Many shelters that have been deemed by the government are still not prepared to receive evacuees,” he stated.
He said Grand Bahama is still without a properly functioning hospital that the government promised to be completed by March 1, before the pandemic hit.
“The hospital is all over the place so you don’t know where to go for service. The conditions for our healthcare workers in Grand Bahama, to include our doctors, nurses, and patients, remain atrocious.”
On the topic of schools, he said that the Hugh Campbell Primary, which is in his constituency, is still in a “deplorable” condition since the hurricane last year.
“A school that has such a large influx of students should have received more attention and due care by this government,” he stressed.
Rev McAlpine stated that many Grand Bahamians feel abandoned by their government and the Port Authority. He noted that both seem to blame each other when it’s convenient. He noted that the island’s potable water issues are not fully resolved, nine months after Hurricane Dorian.
Speaking of Grand Lucayan hotel, he said: “We’re jammed with an abandoned hotel which has cost us dearly and is still costing us; making us believe it was a done deal when it was just a Heads of Agreement signing. I would have felt better if we bought the airport before the hotel because then we would have controlled the situation. We would have been responsible to bring heads to put in beds. We bought a hotel knowing that the airport has always been the issue; the taxes and landing fees.”