Cooper Should be the Last to Lecture Regarding Economy

May 10, 2021

The Free National Movement (FNM) issued the following statement in response to Chester Cooper’s latest politically motivated attack:

“During this unprecedented pandemic, while some governments around the world chose different responses to the challenge, ours chose to prioritize saving lives and worked to preserve livelihoods. And as most of us know a pandemic of this size and scale doesn’t come with a playbook. To hear Brave Davis’ loquacious mentee Chester Cooper tell it, he has all the answers for what is clearly the worst global health crisis in over a century. This is the same Cooper who pulled numbers out of thin air when trying to explain the woeful PLP’s warmed over ‘economic’ plan that is based more on fantasy than it is reality and data.

“Brave’s proud pupil, Chester, sets aside all the extraordinary measures this Government has taken as it worked to steer us through this crisis and ignores the assessment of world organizations like the Global COVID-19 Index (GCI), who cited The Bahamas as ‘among the countries that have made the most progress in curtailing the spread of the pandemic’. CGI also highlighted pandemic response measures implemented by the Minnis Administration, stating they, ‘can be used as examples of best practices’ in managing COVID-19’.

“Regardless of Cooper’s latest, predictable broadside, which are always high on heated rhetoric and absent of ideas and solutions, the Minnis Administration worked to provide grants and loans to help businesses keep employees paid, implemented other critical life lines – like millions in unemployment benefits to assist those out of work, and the food assistance program that continues to keep struggling families fed. What is clear by his leadership is that Prime Minister Minnis understands the importance of taking care of all Bahamians, not just the chosen few.

“But according to Chester – Brave’s loquacious protégé – the Government didn’t need to take such drastic action and steps to help the people as it enacted pandemic response measures the global health community recommended. Apparently for Cooper debt reigns supreme when it comes to helping those struggling and he’d rather have them suffer instead of finding ways to help. A very sad statement from one in leadership at PLP, but it does hem closely to their past actions when in office where they all but ignored the people they served.

“And let’s not forget that Chester Cooper’s newfound religion fails to square with many of the disastrous fiscal policies he championed in the previous PLP administration. Under his watch – which didn’t include an unprecedented global pandemic – the PLP grew the debt-to-GDP ratio to historic levels while failing to collect millions in revenue from post offices, the College of the Bahamas, the Customs Department, the Department of Social Services, the Road Traffic Department, and Prince Margaret Hospital as they allowed millions in VAT money to be collected yet go unaccounted for. We know Chester and his boss, Brave, are always looking at everything through the political lens as they try to ignore their past, but no one can soon forget the disastrous, corrupt, incompetent leadership they delivered while in power – because we are still suffering and digging out of the financial consequences of that time. From the outset of the pandemic the Minnis Administration has made the hard decisions, working to save lives and livelihoods, because that’s what real leaders do. Brave and his protégé should stop with their ill-advised political attacks and take notes.”

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