Bradley B Roberts
Progressive Liberal Party
Political leaders and aspiring leaders must be able to speak with reason and sincerity to national issues and not seek to promote ignorance, hypocrisy and hysteria as smoke screens to hide the truth.
The comments in the media attributed to both Peter Turnquest and Darren Cash of the FNM were hypocritical, misleading and downright disgraceful given the truth of the diplomacy and the foreign and investment policies of the FNM relative to the People’s Republic of China.
Just in case Turnquest and Cash have selective and convenient memories and believe the Bahamian people have short memories, I remind all and sundry that it was none other than the FNM government who established diplomatic ties with China after strenuously opposing the establishment of diplomatic ties between The Bahamas and Taiwan by the Pindling government. They knew full well that Hong Kong would be returned to China on the 1st of July 1997 therefore the approval of Hutchinson Whampoa as an investor in Grand Bahama Container transshipment port meant a choice between China and Taiwan. So the FNM government introduced China to The Bahamas and kicked Taiwan out of the country in exchange for investment dollars.
The FNM government later approved the $3.5 billion investment in Baha Mar using Chinese capital, expertise and labour; the new network of roads on Cable Beach to facilitate this new development and borrowed more than $160 million to finance the airport gateway project in New Providence and other projects inclusive of the bridge and seaport in Abaco. Further, the FNM government accepted the national stadium gift to the Bahamian people as a gesture of support for the one China policy. These are the unadulterated and unvarnished facts.
So where were Cash and Turnquest when the diplomacy and the foreign and investment policies of the FNM government manifested itself in the local media, the international media and on the international stage in broad day light?
Did these men just wake up from their“Red Kool-Aid induced Rip Van Winklesque cryogenic slumber” and are merely talking out of their heads? Or maybe they were and are still just zombies. Those could be the only sensible explanations for their senseless banter and political posturing in the media.
I strongly advise these gentlemen to wake up to the realities of the real world and come out of their cocoon. Our strongest diplomatic ally and trading partner, the United States owes China more than $1.3 Trillion. China is the largest foreign holder of US debt.
Further and more importantly, where were the voices of these men when Bay Street was dying a slow and painful economic death over the entire fifteen years of FNM governance and what did the FNM government do about the declining state and economic decay of Bay Street? What was their policy and plan to revitalize and transform Bay Street with new experiences and entertainment products for visitors and locals alike?
For the PLP’s part, after leading the way in shoring up the tourism product by facilitating the construction of a brand new international airport and the transformation of the Cable Beach strip to a destination that is the envy of the region, the PLP government under the visionary leadership of the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie has turned its attention to the revitalization of Bay Street and the redevelopment of the northern water front of New Providence. We are moving forward.
Certainly now is not the time for the FNM to rewrite history and deflect from their abject failure and guilt on this score. Cash and Turnquest should be about apologizing and atoning to the Bahamian people for their political sins of wanton neglect of Bay Street, an important and strategic component of our overall tourism product offerings.