Wednesday, May 16, 2018
EDITOR, The Tribune.
I hoped that all of the mothers in our wonderful country had an enjoyable and blessed Mothers’ Day. Despite the naysayers, inclusive of myself occasionally, all is not yet lost in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. In fact, it is my considered view, as a social activist and Executive Director of The National Public Policy Institute and Common Cause, that our best days, collectively, are yet ahead of us, God willing.
I make no secret of the incontrovertible fact that I am a committed supporter and member of the Progressive Liberal Party. No, I never really subscribed to the leadership of our brother and former Prime Minister, Perry Gladstone Christie. To put it bluntly, in his latter years as PM for the second time he had, obviously, become clueless and politically numbed as to what to do and how to do it. There was no clear plan or any plan of action. Too many then ministers and board chairpersons were seen and perceived to be ‘doing their own thing’...in a negative and sinister manner. We lost and I am glad that we did.
The vanquished PLP, as led, big time, by Christie and a selected inner circle, messed up the agenda which we had told the people we would follow during the 2012 general election campaign. I always knew, however, that Christie, despite his assertions, had learnt absolutely nothing of value to our people during his first term. His political minions, et al, led him right down the garden path. The rest is history.
The initial start of the FNM’s term was not impressive or inspirational. In fact. the self inflicted political blunders and missteps were dismaying and did nothing to maintain the good will of countless Bahamians. We were wondering what went ‘wrong’ in the early months. Apart from the successful opening of the second phase at Baha Mar and the continuation of The Pointe, not much seemed to be happening for the embryo Minnis administration.
Let me repeat, I am a committed supporter and member of The PLP and have no intention of changing the status quo. I am also, however, a patriotic and right thinking Bahamian. I call a spade a spade and, if there are to be political repercussions, then so be it. Over the last two months I have seen positive moves by Minnis and his crew. Mind you, there is a whole lot more work to be done, but, at last, I personally and politically see some light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
Baha Mar, despite the doom and gloom utterances of Minnis and his crew in opposition, they have done nothing to hinder the successes of that property where over 5,000 grateful Bahamians are now gainfully occupied. Despite what appears to be an imbalance of the labour force at The Pointe, that property is progressing well and upon completion, I am certain that more than 85% of the management and line staff teams will be Bahamians. So, despite the glitches now, look for another 500 or more Bahamians to be at The Pointe before the end of this year.
The Grand Bahama Ship Yard has recently accepted delivery of several mega sized cranes. This will double the work capacity over there with the resultant increase in Bahamian labour. The spin off from this will be tremendous and scores of Bahamians will benefit, if they apply themselves, from new and advance marketable skills. Our Lucaya Hotel, et al. is receiving almost 24X7 attention from our erstwhile Minister of Tourism & Aviation. That property is still in play, despite the pronouncements of our former Chairman Emeritus. Once that property is ‘sold’; remodelled and re-branded, the economy of the entire Island of Grand Bahama will take off.
I am also happy to hear about a possible investment by Disney Cruise Lines over at The Light House Point in Eleuthera. Yes, there will be some armed chair environmentalists and their hidden agenda and they might well have some real concerns. People, however, are more important than things. If a proposal has been submitted, I call upon the PM to seize this opportunity, post haste, so as to generate millions of dollars of foreign and local dollars into the development of that area of the nation. Hundreds of construction jobs would be immediately created.
Second home buyers and local descendants of that Island will return home; construct homes on family properties or purchase their own land for construction. The massive social and taxpayers burdens experienced in New Providence would be wiped away almost with the stroke of the PM’s pen. Local residents and other Bahamians would be able to go into or expand existing ground transportation; domestic services and new and additional service facilities. The PM must now stand and deliver.
NHI is a work in progress. It should have been up and running long ago if the former PM and that former hapless and clueless Minister of Health knew what he was doing. Dr Gomez talked a fairly good talk but, unlike a Duck, he was incapable of walking it. The Hon Dr Duane Sands (FNM-Elizabeth), Minister of Health, has his work cut out for him.
Yes, the Public Hospital Authority and most of our primary health care facilities, face challenges but, keep in mind that the rot and decay started long ago, under successive administrations. It would be dead wrong to blame the FNM; Minnis and Sands, at this stage. Maybe in another year or so....not now. Clinics were being started or proposed where there was no demand for the same...massive wastage of precious national resources.
I love the recent announcement of the PM on The Inner City Revitalisation Bill; the Affordable Land Act and, of course, the anticipated elimination of VAT on certain bread basket items. The Minnis lead administration, has finally, found its collective feet. We who are The Real Deal PLPs must step up our efforts to offer constructive alternative national public policy plans to those being rolled out by the FNM. It is useless for us to continue to wring our hands and to continue crying over our deserved loss in 2017.
Yes, in the natural order of politics, we PLPs will be back, but until then let us wish the PM and his administration well. Yes, I am still a New Deal PLP and have no intention of changing. I give credit, however, where it is due. To God then, in all things, be the glory.
ORTLAND H BODIE Jr
May 13, 2018.