By OSWALD T. BROWN
During his appearance on Steve McKinney’s HARD COPY radio talk show on LOVE-97 today, Gregory Moss, the Progressive Liberal Party’s candidate for the Marco City constituency in Grand Bahama, was absolutely magnificent.
He was very articulate as he eruditely responded to McKinney’s questions and commented on the challenging state of affairs in Grand Bahama today, including the poor state of the island’s economy and an unemployment rate that he estimated to be as high as 25 percent.
One of the issues that Moss raised that has been a pet complaint of mine and has baffled most Grand Bahamians is the government’s decision to discontinue daily ZNS-13 national broadcasts out of Grand Bahama for the inconceivable reason that at $70,000 per year it was too costly. When you consider the fact that this is less than one of the Ministers in Prime Minister Ingraham’s over bloated Cabinet, you must scratch your head and wonder what “lame brain” came up with that excuse.
The truth of the matter is that ZNS-13 daily broadcasts out of Freeport were cancelled because Ingraham wanted to spite Sir Jack Hayward, one of the principal owners of the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) because Sir Jack refused to give in to his demands to sell the GBPA to Hutchison Whampoa, which is a communist China-based company. Sir Jack, who is a blue-blooded British aristocrat, despises communism and he has unequivocally made it known in published comments that he would never sell the GBPA to the communist China.
But being the vindictive individual that he is, Ingraham in December of 2009 responded by refusing to renew the work permit of Hannes Babak, the then chairman of the GBPA, who had been hand-picked by Sir Jack and Lady Henrietta St. George, widow of the late Edward St. George, who shared ownership of the GBPA with Sir Jack.
During his response to a question McKinney asked, Moss referred to the Prime Minister’s reaction to Sir Jack’s refusal to sell the GBPA, but he diplomatically suggested that the denial of Babak’s work permit was one of the “sequences of events” that ensued after Sir Jack vehemently refused to sell the GBPA to the communist Chinese.
Residents of Grand Bahama know Gregory Moss very well, for he represents one of the truly inspiring examples of what someone can accomplish in life, no matter what hardships they may have faced in the early stages of their lives. He grew up in one of the most impoverished “ghettos” of Freeport, but through hard work and a determination to succeed in life, he has been a highly successful lawyer in Grand Bahama for more than 20 years.
One of his remarkable qualities that has always impressed me tremendously is his innate ability to “think outside the box” when faced with a challenging issue. As President of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce (GBCC) several years ago, at the height of the current recession, he made a very bold and innovative proposal to jump start Grand Bahama’s economy by removing the barriers to the business population of Freeport that restricts “bonded vehicles” from travelling outside the Freeport area.
Can you imagine what benefits this would have accrued to small businesses in settlements outside of Freeport if Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing, who represents Marco City, had convinced his boss, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, who is the Minister of Finance, that this was an excellent idea that could provide some impetus for Grand Bahama’s near moribund economy. Just think what this would have meant to the small businesses in Eight Mile Rock, Hanna Hill, Sea Grape and West End in West Grand Bahama and the corresponding outlying settlements in East Grand Bahama.
Unfortunately, Laing, who is being challenged for the Marco City seat by Moss, and all four of the other FNM Members of the House who represent seats in Grand Bahama remained totally silent as Ingraham waged his personal war against Sir Jack and in the process increased the pain Grand Bahamians in general have been suffering as a result of the impact his spiteful decision had on the economy of Grand Bahama.
Surely, those voters in Marco City who heard Gregory Moss on LOVE-97 today and had not made up their minds who they would vote for between Moss and Laing, have now decided that Moss is their man in Marco City.