THOMPSON SAYS OPPOSITION IS SERIOUSLY CONCERNED WITH CONTENT OF LATEST BLOOMBERG REPORT

THOMPSON SAYS OPPOSITION IS SERIOUSLY CONCERNED WITH CONTENT OF LATEST BLOOMBERG REPORT

The Opposition registers its serious concern on the contents of the Bloomberg Report of June 22, 2022 entitled “Emerging Markets’ Club of Distressed Nations Gets 4 New Members”. According to the metric employed by Bloomberg Financial, The Bahamas is ranked the sixth-worst fiscally distressed emerging market economy. The significant risk premium attached to The Bahamas’ bonds in the international bond market – which as of today was trading 32 percent below par value in the 2032 series – has beentrending sharply downward over the last six months.
Despite the pronouncements of the Davis Administration and their rosy economic and financial prognosis, the community of bond investors are heavily discounting the country’s bonds and as such, they are signaling in their actions that they have no confidence in the announced plans of the government to move the country toward fiscal stability.
The opposition appreciates that the twin calamities of Dorian and the Covid-19 pandemic have meant that the country has had to undertake significant unplanned borrowings since 2020. These borrowings were approved unanimously by both sides in Parliament as a response to the two crises.
However, the Davis Administration has yet to put forward a concrete plan for expenditure restraint and for equitable revenue growth to bring the nation’s fiscal house back into order. In fact, the PLP government instead decided to operate in breach of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and bring to Parliament a budget with a deficit much higher than the legally mandated target it set for itself in its own Fiscal Strategy Report 2021.
Further, they have made none of the projected expenditure adjustments and have instead decided to ramp up spending in a number of areas, including international travel and consultancies. The failure of the PLP to engage in real governance and to make the tough but necessary decisions is eroding the credibility of this government among Bahamians and the international bond investor community.
The government must come to the Bahamian people with a legitimate plan for fiscal consolidation. If not, the confidence of the investor community will not improve, and the government will find it more and more difficult to source the ongoing financing it needs to meet its obligations. The government must change course rapidly to avoid Bahamian taxpayers footing a higher than necessary bill for the government’s continued inaction.
END
J. Kwasi Thompson
Member of Parliament East Grand Bahama Shadow Minister for Finance
Controller of the Department of Road Traffic and the Minister of Transport must act in accordance within the provisions of the Road Traffic Act and in line with principles of Natural Justice.

Controller of the Department of Road Traffic and the Minister of Transport must act in accordance within the provisions of the Road Traffic Act and in line with principles of Natural Justice.

Yesterday, the Department of Road Traffic issued an announcement in the local
newspaper stating that effective 20th June 2022 (the same day of the
announcement) “will be recalling all taxi plates that have been inactive for
ninety days or more due to delinquent holders/operators, or deceased
individuals.” The notice is plainly wrong on many levels and we call upon the
Minister to correct this process immediately.
Firstly, the Notice does not provide an opportunity for the affected licensees to
be heard or to show cause why the licenses should not be recalled. Section 69
(2) is clear and provides that “Before revoking a license under this section the
Controller shall afford to the holder an opportunity to be heard and to adduce
evidence.” The section also allows the licensee a right to appeal to the Road
Traffic Authority. The Notice therefore, should have invited the affected license
holders to make representations within a reasonable time frame and to adduce
evidence. Further, the Controller ought to confirm whether each franchise
holder was given a show cause letter or given an opportunity to have their
license activated within Ninety days.

These drivers have already suffered during the pandemic. It is unthinkable that,
after the government of The Bahamas waived the requirement for licenses to
be renewed during the height of the pandemic, that a few short months later,
just as business is rebounding, the Minister and Controller are seeking to recall
licenses.
Is the Minister seeking to make room in the inventory to dish out more plates to
friends, family and supporters? You will recall that the Minister already
announced the issuance of over 200 taxi plate since coming into office. We
remind the public that she never announced that the moratorium was being
lifted. Why keep the lifting of the Moratorium a secret unless you did not want
the public to have an opportunity to make applications? Did the
Minister/Controller use the new plates to regularize the decades old problem of
leasing? Let the Bahamian people know whether drivers who were leasing got
first preference or whether the new plates were given to friends and
supporters?
The proposed recall takes away the livelihood of hard-working Bahamians
without following due process. It is a disgrace, and we condemn it is the
strongest possible terms.

Senator Hon. Michela Barnett Ellis
Shadow Minister of Transport and Housing

Opposition Leader Statement on FNM MP Adrian White

Opposition Leader Statement on FNM MP Adrian White

 

It has come to the attention of the Free National Movement that charges have been brought today against a number of individuals in the Magistrate’s Court. Among those reportedly charged is Free National Movement Member of Parliament for Long Island Mr. Adrian Gibson.

Given the sensitivity of the matter, I will limit my comments to the following: Mr. Gibson is first and foremost a member in good standing with the Free National Movement and is also an active and important member of our parliamentary caucus. We in the Free National Movement stand in solidarity with Mr. Gibson and believe that according to the laws of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas he is innocent until proven guilty and that he is entitled to due process and a fair trial. The FNM will therefore work to ensure that Mr. Gibson’s rights are observed and not abused and we remain resolute in our position that at the end of this process, Justice and Truth shall prevail.

END

The Hon Michael C Pintard
Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition Leader of the Free National Movement

FNM Releases 2021 Manifesto

FNM Releases 2021 Manifesto

 

Wednesday September 1st, 2021

(For Immediate Release)

 

The Free National Movement (FNM) issued the following statement regarding the party’s 2021 Manifesto:

 

Today, the Free National Movement released its 2021 Manifesto.  Party Chairman, Carl Culmer, stated, “Manifesto 2021 details the FNM Party’s comprehensive plans for the country’s health, economic and social recovery.  It provides new and progressive ideas to take the country forward, following the worst national disaster in the history of our country and as we work through a devastating global pandemic.”

 

He further stated, “The Manifesto also details a number of the Minnis Administration’s numerous accomplishments for the Bahamian people over the past four and half years, despite these unprecedented events.  It serves as a bold statement about the future of The Bahamas.”

 

Among the FNM’s pledges in Manifesto 2021 are the following:

 

  • End the emergency phase of the pandemic, by continuing the comprehensive National Vaccination Programme, expanding testing capacity at the National Reference Lab, continuing to foster robust contact tracing, enacting legislation to replace the Emergency Orders, improving public health infrastructure, and other elements of the COVID 19 response detailed in the Manifesto;

 

  • Give Bahamians more access to land and affordable homeownership throughout the country by building on existing programs, while also developing new ones;

 

  • Establish a Ministry of Investments, Financial Services and Commerce, to expand conditions for economic growth and trade, opportunity and job creation, to transform domestic and international investments, and to enhance Bahamian ownership of the economy through entrepreneurship and innovation;

 

  • Expand the Family Island Infrastructure programme by continuing to construct airports, bridges, roads, docks, hospital upgrades and clinics, and other essential infrastructure to enhance the quality of life for all Bahamians;

 

  • Resource a National Sovereign Wealth Fund to mobilize assets and private capital for infrastructure development;

 

  • Collaborate with the Grand Bahama Port Authority to improve business processes on Grand Bahama, in particular for micro-businesses, execute a housing programme, and create master plans for East and West Grand Bahama;

 

  • Implement the work of the National Commission on Marijuana, including: decriminalising the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, legalising medical marijuana, establishing a Cannabis Licensing Authority and making Crown Land available for Bahamians to grow legal cannabis; and

 

  • Build the technical infrastructure to undergird the work of the Information Commissioner already appointed by this Minnis Administration under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

Some of the accomplishments identified in Manifesto 2021 include:

 

  • Taken the country from a decade of either no growth or net negative growth to a period of consecutive years of economic growth prior to Hurricane Dorian and the pandemic;

 

  • Introduced the historic Fiscal Responsibility Act, which led the way to a 60% reduction in annual fiscal deficits before Hurricane Dorian and the pandemic;

 

  • Executed a massive infrastructure programme throughout the Islands of The Bahamas, including the docks, bridges, airport upgrades, water works, seawalls, and extensive roadworks throughout the Family Islands and New Providence;

 

  • Transformed the provision of Government services to the public through digital platforms, including e-passports, licenses, and birth, death and marriage certificates, as well as education instruction;

 

  • Established the Small Business Development Centre, which has provided critical business support to micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and has approved over $60 million for approximately 2,000 Medium- and Small-Sized Enterprises; and

 

  • Consistently reduced serious crimes, including murders, armed robberies, and sexual offences, through deliberate strategies.

 

More of the FNM Party’s 2021 Manifesto will be shared this evening by the Party’s Leader, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, at the Rollin’ Red Rally at the Winton Super Value Food Store parking lot and streamed live on social media platforms.

 

Manifesto – Free National Movement

 

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PLP Using Same Old, Tired, Worn-Out Playbook

PLP Using Same Old, Tired, Worn-Out Playbook

Tuesday August 31st, 2021

(For Immediate Release)

 

The Free National Movement (FNM) issued the following statement regarding the PLP’s deceptive and failed attempt to bribe Unions:

“What’s old is new again for the woeful PLP, led by Master of Corruption, Brave Davis. Desperate to seize back power, they continue to replicate the lies and deceptive tactics that have long become a hallmark of their campaigns. The PLP is quick to make promises, but never keep them. This time around Davis attempted to bribe the Bahamas National Congress of Trade Unions, promising to address all their issues in exchange for their support in the upcoming election.  But Bahamians have grown wise to Brave’s deceitful tactics, with nine separate Unions stating they never heard of the agreement, and ‘refuse to stand idly by and allow our members to be used as pawns’.

“Davis’ efforts to manufacture headlines isn’t new. Many will remember when he served as the top deputy in the disastrous Christie Administration and they were called out for attempting to hold a fake opening for Baha Mar. At the time The Tribune wrote, ‘Mr. Davis’ contributions during the public hearing, as well as during his subsequent interview with reporters, were devoid of details’, making it clear their ‘soft-opening’ was nothing but a failed publicity stunt.

“The woeful PLP under Brave Davis has come to the end of the line.  Being called out as they turn to their old deceitful tactics, as well as being lambasted by the media for their warmed-over economic plan, called out for being ‘recycled’ from their previously failed promises and ‘unfulfilled’ plan.

“On the other hand, the Minnis Administration will continue working to make historic reforms to raise the standards for transparency and accountability, and the FNM will always put people over politics.  They are working to overcome the historic challenges we’ve faced as a nation these past few years, as they seek to build opportunities and a better future for all Bahamians.”

 

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PLP Using Same Old, Tired, Worn-Out Playbook

Chairman Culmer Rebukes Break-In at FNM Headquarters

Carl Culmer, Chairman of The Free National Movement (FNM), issued the following statement regarding last night’s break in at the FNM’s headquarters:

“This morning it was discovered that the FNM headquarters was broken into at some point last night. We don’t have any details at the moment but are hopeful that an investigation will bring answers and justice will be served.

“It doesn’t seem coincidental that our party’s headquarters would be broken into on the evening before nomination day, but regardless of intent, it is a shame that someone would do this after the years of peaceful elections that our country is proud of.

“We encourage all political parties in The Bahamas to rebuke this type of behavior as it has no place in our electoral process. The FNM will provide more information when it becomes available.”

 

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