Member of Parliament for Golden Gates.
Nassau, The Bahamas – Homes still stand vacant across the country as the FNM government continue to stalled the government housing programme, cancelling construction works and terminating building inspectors in several areas. Some homes, which have been ready for Bahamian families from last year May, still have yet the warmth of eager new homeowners, because the FNM government is still holding the keys to those homes refusing to give those keys to approved applicants, even after they paid their deposits.
The country learned last evening of FNM poor housing record, as former Minister of Hosing Shane Gibson lambaste the governing party at a public meeting held last evening at the SC McPherson School.
MP for Golden Gates and former Minister responsible for Housing, D. Shane Gibson, last night slammed the FNM government over its decision to not extend the exemption from real property taxes for first time home buyers under the $250,000 cap.
The former housing minister made a direct comparison between the housing statistics produced under the PLP in its first nine months and the FNM’s record so far, calling the current government’s lack of production a disgrace. Mr. Gibson said “we now have two FNM MPs, Mr. Ken Russell and Mr. Brensil Rolle and between two of them, we cannot get one house done. I was on my own as Minister and the record will show that almost 900 houses were built. And the FNM says we were a ‘do nothing government.’ Make the comparison – FNM zero, PLP almost 900.”
Mr. Gibson also knocked the FNM’s misleading and disingenuous use of PR to ridicule the houses built under the PLP. He reminded the crowd that there is no known cases of any houses being built in the history of this country where there haven’t been problems after the fact. “This is what retention is for. That is why it is there and we have not built a house yet where the retention money could not cover the repairs. That is the whole point of retention and they know this but we have to give them credit for one thing. Their use of negative PR would give the impression that we did nothing, even though we have 900 homes as evidence.”
Mr. Gibson reminded the FNM of how, on entering office, one of the first orders of business was to repair the homes that the FNM failed to address before leaving office, despite repeated attempts by homeowners to get them done. Mr. Gibson said that the PLP didn’t hold any press conferences to point out the FNM failings but instead got straight to work and fixed those homes and built many others.
Mr. Gibson also took time to discuss the fact that the FNM’s recent decision to not extend the exemption for Real Property Tax for first time homeowners. This decision has severely impacted the construction industry and has put the livelihoods of hundreds of Bahamian contractors as well as thousands of labourers in jeopardy. Almost 70% of the home contractors in the country are reporting difficulty with getting jobs and all are pointing at this decision to not extend the RPT exemption as the blame.
Mr. Gibson claimed that “even FNM contractors are complaining.”
The Free National Movement government has yet to release the statistics from the Ministry of Works showing the number of new home constructions starts and permits granted. This was a quarterly exercise that showed the rate of construction in the country. By not releasing these numbers, the FNM may very well be trying to conceal the true negative impact of their decision as home construction numbers are most certainly far off the mark set under the PLP.