Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has formed a committee full of Free National Movement cronies to determine who qualifies for lots in a Western New Providence subdivision, raising concerns that only young FNM supporters will benefit from the development.
Committee members include Carlyle Bethel, the son of Attorney General Carl Bethel and President of the Torchbearers Youth Association; political appointee in the Office of the Prime Minister Viana Gardiner; Nathaniel Beneby who was brought out of retirement to coach inexperienced Minister of State for Finance Kwasi Thompson and FNM supporter Charles Sealy, who quit his high-paying job at Doctors Hospital.
The Minnis Administration has been accused of dangling low-priced lots on Prospect Ridge like carrots to appeal to the largest voting bloc in the country: young Bahamians.
Some question the timing of this initiative as the Minnis Administration ramps up its re-election campaign.
Minnis has promised that successful applicants would not have to come up with a down payment for the $40,000 – $50,000 lots. However Clearing Banks Association President Kenrick Brathwaite contradicted Minnis’ promise and said banks make decisions based on risk and not on politics.
“Once we have assessed a risk and the level of the risk is acceptable to us, then we will say yes to it. We’re not going to say yes to a government guarantee. We always say we don’t want to be in the land selling business or the liquidation business. We want to give it to a customer who will pay their loans. That’s our primary concern, to give loans to a customer who will pay their loans. A government guarantee, depending on who you speak with, may not be a risk mitigator,” according to Brathwaite.
Developers have also pointed out that the biggest challenge that applicants will have is coming up with the closing costs of purchasing a property, adding if the government really wanted to assist young professionals, it would have addressed that issue as well.