Wednesday, February 19, 2020
By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party Chairman Senator Fred Mitchell says the party is seeing interest from hundreds of people seeking to be potential candidates in Grand Bahama and New Providence.
While in Grand Bahama Monday night, Mr Mitchell said at a Marco City branch meeting that he is very pleased with the level of interest in running for public office.
He indicated that already 300 to 400 people have been through the course for candidates, and other courses are scheduled for Grand Bahama and New Providence.
“I came to see how the branch (here) functions and to see what people’s responses are. . .I am glad the people are active and seeking to run for office,” Mr Mitchell said.
He said another course for candidates will be held later in the year for Grand Bahama, and one will be held in Nassau on February 27 through March 1.
“And all of this is trying to build a team so people have a common experience about the history of the party, the rules of Parliament, what it is to be a Cabinet minister, a backbencher or to serve on a statutory board, and how to work as a team because we want to hit the ground running when we win the next election,” said Mr Mitchell.
Mr Mitchell is encouraging others to come forward and offer themselves as candidates.
“There’s a young team coming up and there are a lot of ambitious young people, and we want to encourage more to come forward because the country needs them, and I shall lend my experience to anyone who ultimately emerges as the candidate for constituents,” he added.
When asked about potential candidates in Grand Bahama, Mr Mitchell said the party is seeing interest from both men and women.
“There are several…and there are at least two females here who are interested in running in the next election.
“I think Grand Bahama can use their skills. They got a lot of experience in the civic life of Grand Bahama, and so it would be great if they can lend that to politics.”
The PLP chairman also commented on the situation concerning the Grand Lucayan resort and the airport in Grand Bahama.
He believes that the government was duped by the owner of the hotel property who had failed to live up its obligations to repair the hotel after collecting on the insurance, and now the same thing has happened with the airport.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis recently announced that his government will sign a heads of agreement for the sale of the Grand Lucayan to Royal Caribbean International and ITM Group for the redevelopment of the hotel and harbour. The project is expected to revive the Grand Bahama economy and provide about 2,000 to 3,000 jobs.
Of the hotel purchase, Senator Mitchell stated: “The devil is always in the details. We thought that the government got hoodwinked by the people who owned the hotel by allowing them to get away with cashing in the insurance and not getting the hotel up and running.
“So now we cross that bridge, the question is whether this deal that they have announced is actually a real deal or whether it would come off.
“But what we do know is when it comes off, it is going to take them two and a half years to get up and ramping. So, they are a bit too late if they are trying to figure out something for this term.”
He expressed a similar warning for the purchase of the Grand Bahama International Airport.
“The advice we get is that the airport is in the wrong place. It is in a flood plain and the government essentially is going to be stuck with the $40m plus bill to fix that airport while the owners walk away and say ‘here, you take it for a $1.’
“Our view is that the Hawksbill Creek Agreement provides that they (Hutchison Whampoa and Port Group Ltd) are supposed to supply an airport and harbour for this city and they should be made to follow that,” he said.