Monday, April 16, 2018
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
THE Free National Movement's "mistruths" ahead of the 2017 general election heavily impacted Public Domain's poll showing a slump in the Minnis administration's popularity, Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip "Brave" Davis insisted yesterday.
He added he doubts the governing party could do anything in the near future to reverse the sentiments of "bitter" Bahamians.
Speaking to The Tribune yesterday, the Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP said it was a telling tale for the government to receive such ratings less than a year into its term in office.
In a poll released last week, Public Domain found the government's popularity was decreasing with fewer than 50 percent of Bahamians generally satisfied with its performance.
"The findings of the poll do not surprise me," Mr Davis said. "My own interaction with the Bahamian electorate confirms what I have been hearing along my trek of visits with Bahamians.
"The truth of the matter is they have come to accept that a lot of mistruth was told during the campaign trail and it's like a jilted lover who would have fell in love with a bunch of mistruth. When you win the heart by mistruth the heart turns into something bitter.
"The sad thing about it is we have allowed politics to be dictated by personalities than philosophies and very often we embrace the wrong personality and that is the unfortunate fact that we face today. Bahamians are bitter because of it.
"I don't see it reversing right now," the PLP leader continued.
"They must have a vision and a plan and we have not been able to identify that. There is also the question of when they are going to stop blaming the PLP?
"Were it not for the PLP, where would the economy be today? What if VAT had not been implemented? They said it was stolen.
"What about Baha Mar? According to them it was a fake opening and they thought we should not have intervened in the way that we did, but look at it now."
According to the poll - conducted by the private research firm and released to the media on Wednesday - the number of Bahamians generally dissatisfied with the administration has increased by 28 percent since last May even as the number of people generally satisfied with the administration has declined by 18 percent.
The poll also shows a substantial number of people surveyed now believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.
The poll was conducted from March 15 to April 7 and relied on a random, weighed sample of 1,000 Bahamians. It comes as the administration prepares to mark its one year anniversary on May 10.
When asked about the poll on Thursday, Acting Prime Minister Peter Turnquest admitted the government's communications with the public have sometimes missed the mark and said it plans to ramp up its public relations efforts soon.
Mr Turnquest said the results did not make him "feel badly," nor would they disrupt the government's agenda or prompt it to change course.
In a few years, he said, hopefully Bahamians will look back at this period and characterise it as a rebuilding phase.
"At the end of the day it isn't going to affect what we are focused on doing," Mr Turnquest said last week. "We recognise that Bahamians have suffered, continue to suffer a slow turnaround and we understand we have a job to do.
"We're focused on that job and we will make improvements that are necessary and hopefully at the end of the day in four years from now they will see, touch and feel the result of the work we do and it will be demonstrably clear that this period is just a rebuilding, a planning period for what is to come."
When contacted for his reaction, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said the poll results do not surprise him.
"There's nothing in the poll certainly about the Free National Movement's administration that those of us who spend time on the ground wouldn't have known," he said.
"People are talking, people are vocalising their concerns. People say, 'I like what you're doing, but . . .' or 'I understand what you are doing but...' There have been some things that have rubbed the public the wrong way, Oban is an example of that. The prime minister has admitted we have made some mistakes with Oban that we intend to correct. There are some things that we have promised that we have not been able to deliver and hopefully we will be able to deliver some of those promises in the start of the next fiscal year."