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Davis: National Address Just A Campaign Speech

PLP leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.

PLP leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.

By EARYEL BOWLEG

Tribune Staff Reporter

ebowleg@tribunemedia.net

PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party Leader Philip “Brave” Davis slammed Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ national address on Tuesday night as a “campaign speech” that did not provide a way forward for the country.

In a statement issued yesterday, Mr Davis said “only a prime minister profoundly disconnected from the reality facing Bahamian families would give a national address like the one we saw last night.

“It was a campaign speech, not a plan for the way forward,” he added.

The PLP leader said the country cannot afford Dr Minnis’ “formula of more job-destroying, economy-shrinking lockdowns” but said the nation needs new measures to prevent a third wave.

He said people wanted to hear about other matters such as the government’s preparedness against the new, more transmissible variants of COVID-19 from circulating around the world.

“We have heard enough talk about plans in development, somehow always ‘a few weeks’ away from being announced. It is time for decisive action and a comprehensive approach to meet the economic and public health needs of the Bahamian people,” Mr Davis said.

“What the Bahamian people need is a clear vision for addressing the current crisis and realistic plans to implement that vision.

“People wanted to hear how the government will fix its own testing policies, as it was revealed that more than 20,000 travellers have failed to comply with the five-day travel testing protocols that are supposed to protect Bahamians.

“People want to know how they can survive the coming months, and how the government will revitalise the economy so that their need for government assistance can come to an end.”

The prime minister’s speech on Tuesday highlighted the government’s spending in 2020 and the handling of the COVID-19 crisis. With the millions spent, the opposition leader said Bahamians living in truly desperate circumstances wondered how so little assistance had come considering all the tax dollars doled out and debt added to the country’s balance sheet.

“The prime minister said the country had spent $17 million on food assistance for 100,000 Bahamians,” the PLP leader said. “That totals $170 per person, during a severe economic crisis that has stretched from last March through now. Does the prime minister believe the government has done enough?

“The boasts about NIB are infuriating; the FNM opposed the National Insurance Act that created NIB, and the prime minister is not doing Bahamians any special favours when he returns to them their own contributions.

“Unemployment assistance will extend to the end of January, and food assistance through the end of March, Minnis announced. If this was intended to reassure, it had the opposite effect, striking fear into the hearts of the many thousands of Bahamians still out of work and already struggling to survive on the little assistance provided.

“People are facing eviction notices for unpaid rent and mortgages. Many do not know where their next meal or dollar will come from,” Mr Davis said.

On Tuesday, Dr Minnis highlighted his administration’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis and detailed how taxpayer dollars were spent during the pandemic. He said $177m was spent through the end of October 2020 in response to COVID-19.

“To help support businesses and workers, we offered $44.4m in tax credit/tax deferrals which funded the payrolls for nearly 7,000 private sector employees,” he told the nation.

“To protect nearly 4,500 jobs in the small business sector, $47.3m was made available for small business grants and continuity loans, through the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Centre.

“The government provided $45.5m in unemployment support, administered by the National Insurance Board. This included the extension of NIB’s existing benefit programmes, as well as support for Bahamians in the hospitality sector and self-employed individuals. This has been the largest distribution of unemployment benefits in Bahamian history.”

Dr Minnis also said between March and October 2020, $17.2m was spent on food support, providing food for about 100,000 people.

He added that in New Providence, $9m has been spent improving Princess Margaret Hospital and areas of Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre while in Grand Bahama, $21m has been allocated for a phased redevelopment of Rand Memorial Hospital.

He also announced that Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis will chair a consultative committee to advise the Ministry of Health on a vaccination plan.

After his speech, some on social media criticised him for not revealing when additional COVID-19 restrictions will be relaxed.

Comments

KapunkleUp 3 months ago

Chicken Davis must have been reading the comment section here because nothing he said was original.

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TigerB 3 months ago

This guy has never given a Prime Minister's Speech as yet, may never either. I sense a hit of jealousy

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moncurcool 3 months ago

Davis to me is no different than the PM. Don't even bother to listen or read what he has to say as know it is just as bunch of hot air and nothing of substance. You would think a man who trying to be PM would be more innovative in thought.

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John 3 months ago

The facts are po that tge FNM does have a platform to campaign on. And if this Corona virus continues to remain low with corresponding low death and totally disappears by March or shortly thereafter ( personally I don’t think the vaccine will be a factor because there viruses disappear after circulating the planet) this will be one of the biggest feathers in Minnis and the FNM’s hat. People will focus on the recovery from the pandemic and busy themselves with the economic recovery rather than the curfews and lockdowns. And there are several pieces of legislation Minnis will try to pass ( legalization or decrimilizing of marijuana and an accompanying ex sponging of criminal records for possession of small amounts of weed, the public disclosure act and some semblance of a fund or body to collect and disburse funds from the natural resources, for example. Then Brave Davis enters the arena leading a party that is scandal ridden. He may not have the power to deny nominations to some who are scandal ridden. So yes, it will be a matter of trust.

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ThisIsOurs 3 months ago

it will be a matter of how great is the apathy. how many people just dont care. as despicable a character as Trump was, Ted Cruz and Lindsay Graham were saying very different things about him in 2016, as unbelievable as it was that he could beat Hilary, that's exactly how he won. Voter apathy. The FNM should go and look at recent history and do something about it.

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