Oswald Brown Writes
By OSWALD T. BROWN
During his address at the launch of the Free National Movement’s Grand Bahama candidates at the Grand Lucaya Resort in Freeport on Sunday, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham boasted that the FNM will win all five seats in Grand Bahama.
Someone quite rightly suggested that Ingraham “is clearly delusional if he thinks the FNM will sweep Grand Bahama in 2012 and must also believe that he can walk on water.”
Surely, if the Prime Minister is honest, he must realize that the FNM’s three “new faces”—Peter Turnquest, candidate for East Grand Bahama; Norris Bain, Marco City; and Pakeisha Edgecombe, West Grand Bahama and Bimini–and the two FNM incumbents seeking re-election, Neko Grant in Central Grand Bahama and Kwazi Thompson in Pineridge, are no match for the extraordinary slate of candidates who are standard-bearers for the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) in Grand Bahama: Dr. Michael Darville, Pineridge; Gregory Moss, Marco City; Tanisha Tynes, East Grand Bahama; Julian Russell, Central Grand Bahama; and incumbent Obie Wilchcombe, West Grand Bahama and Bimini.
The truth of the matter, however, is that Ingraham knows that there is convincing evidence which suggests that the FNM will lose all five Grand Bahama seats because of his government’s uncaring and vindictive policies that have wrecked the island’s economy. Therefore, with the general election not far away, he has embarked on pre-election promotional blitz, with the hope that there is truth in the saying that “Bahamians have short memories” and residents of Grand Bahama will forget the high-level of stress and suffering they have had to endure as a result of his government’s total neglect of Grand Bahama over the past four-plus years.
This is what the highly publicized official opening of the new addition to the Rand Memorial Hospital Wednesday morning was supposed to help accomplish. We can also expect that there will be another grand opening for the new government complex on the Mall before the next election.
Further evidence of the pre-election promotional blitz is reflected in his announcement on Sunday that he is now speaking with Sir Jack Hayward, one of the principal owners of the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), now that Hannes Babak is no longer a topic, noting that they will now work together on some projects for Grand Bahama. It was Ingraham’s refusal in December of 2009 of a work permit for Babak, then chairman of the GBPA, that sparked the feud between him and Sir Jack, resulting in Ingraham’s refusal to meet with leaders of the GBPA to discuss ways to revive Grand Bahama’s struggling economy.
Labour Minister Dion Foulkes expanded on Ingraham’s announcement in an interview with ZNS on Tuesday when he said the government had reached an agreement with the GBPA that would result in more jobs in Grand Bahama and an improved economy, noting that the GBPA “has a lot of initiatives on the drawing board” and “the worst days for Grand Bahama are over.”
It is quite clear that these promises by the Prime Minister and Foulkes are pre-election ploys aimed at hoodwinking voters in Grand Bahama into forgetting how badly they were neglected by the FNM over the past four-plus years.
If GBPA indeed has “a lot of initiatives on the drawing board,” many of these proposed projects could very well have been gathering dust over the past two years that Ingraham refused to speak to Sir Jack. Surely, if the Prime Minister had not been so spitefully malicious and stubborn during his feud with Sir Jack, Grand Bahama’s economy would not be in the poor state it is in today and many of the businesses that had to shut their doors would still be open.
In an excellent commentary recently, Kirkland Russell provided a list of businesses in Grand Bahama that have closed in recent years, among them: The Redwood Motel Port Lucaya, Island Palm Hotel, Lighthouse Point Hotel, Reef Village hotel, Ferry House Restaurant, East Asian Restaurant Port Lucaya, Le Dolche Vita Italian Restaurant, Freeport Concrete, Frenistation, Glass Company, The Home Center, GB Snack and Bakery, International Distributors, McDonalds Restaurant, Grand Bahama Water World Miniature Golf, and Grand Bahama Bowling Ally.
This extended list of closed businesses certainly confirms the crippling effect the FNM’s policies have had on Grand Bahama’s economy. Now we are being told by Ingraham and Foulkes, with an election on the horizon, that better days are ahead for Grand Bahama because the Prime Minister is now speaking with Sir Jack.
Better days are indeed ahead for Grand Bahama, but under the incoming PLP government, headed by Prime Minister Perry Christie, who is poised and ready to implement the PLP’s well-thought-out and innovative plans to reduce violence, create jobs, revive the economy and generally restore good governance to this country.
And the new government will include five representatives from Grand Bahama.