Zhivargo Laing you is another DAMN LIAR and False Prophet in the FNM!



<<< Zhivargo Laing carrying on once again like an OBNOXIOUS JACKASS in Parliament! [file photo]

CLICK TO LISTEN TO FNM Cabinet Ministers on Love 97FM Issues of the Day

Nassau, Bahamas — Well it’s the FNM birthday again and the pack of red devils are out once again LYING to the public. Coming out with spin on the state of the country was Zhivargo Laing, Tommy Turnquest and Brent Symonette. ALL three are clouded with scandals!

They were out on the radio show with host Wendall Jones promoting the FNM failures. They all said they were so proud to be apart of all the violence now taking place. Old people getting robbed and the young people, including young mothers, getting gunned down right in front of their children. And these RED DEVILS say crime is under control. WOW they can’t be living in The Bahamas!

They were all praising the fact that hotels are closing by the day and workers fired. Laing went to the extent and said he’s ready to proclaim benediction on Grand Bahama. This is a section of the country that has been dead since 2007.

All three ministers said, they believe the FNM and their leader Hubert Ingraham was doing an excellent job. Tommy Turnquest even went to the extent and said a PLP told him he was glad the FNM was in power, and was doing a good job, that PLP must have been Perry Christie.tommy-turnquest

Brent Symonette avoided discussing anything about Arawak Cay and his conflict in the port move, but in the same breath concluded that the FNM is a government about openness and transparency, hmmmmm! You think he could spell those words? A hopeless case but he has money and colour on his side and that’s all he needs.

But what struck in our mind with these ban of ‘red devils’ was outright lies spoken by Laing. Now people must excuse the Junior Minister of Finance who proved during the interview that he is out-to-lunch on the state of the country’s finances. He also proved that as a preacher, he’s the BIGGEST BOLDFACE LIAR Ingraham has ever produced.

Laing went on national radio and declared that the FNM had not almost double the national on the Bahamian people. Now we know this subject well though we’ve never served in the ministry of finance.

brent-symonette.jpgIn 1997, according to the Central Bank of The Bahamas, the FNM met the national debt at $1.2 Billion. By they time they were voted out in 2002 it stood at $2.2 Billion. It took Pindling 25 years to grow Bahamian debt to $1 Billion, but it took the FNM 10 to almost double the figure. This is fact. But Laing sought to LIE!

He went further as ask Mr. Jones to check the facts and he would discover that the debt grown by the FNM between 1997 to 2002 [WHICH WAS $1.077 BILLION], was almost the same number left by Christie’s PLP left on Bahamians in 5 short years. Laing challenged Jones to check the facts, well BP did indeed check the numbers and again according to Laing’s communication to Parliament, the PLP under Christie raised the National Debt during the 5-year period by $580 Million. That communication by Laing was delivered to Parliament on June 2007 as he tabled the Budget. But when you look at the Central Bank report however, between 2002 and 2007 the National Debt was increased during that period by $413.9 million, less than half as Laing claimed. This means Laing also MISLED THE PARLIAMENT! Mannnn someone must deal with this ‘RED DEVIL’ at the House next sitting!

Here again though we see the ‘Pussy Cat’ will not lift a paw and defend his own record. This is why he and Hubert ‘GATS TO GO!’




A listing of the growing National Debt provided by the Central Bank of The Bahamas. CLICK TO READ Central BANK REPORT . What is amazing is this, since 2007 when the FNM came to power, not a single year of the country’s growing debt is listed. We wonder why?


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    Remarks by Senator The Honourable Jerome Kennedy Fitzgerald
    LL.B. (Honours), LL.M., M.Sc. (Shipping, Trade & Finance)

    in the





    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    Madame President,
    Before I get into the substance of this Debate, I would like to take this opportunity to stress in the strongest possible terms my objection to a story written by John Marquis which appeared in the Insight section of The Tribune on Monday, March 9th, 2009.

    This story has been the subject of much controversy since it was written. I am not only appalled but saddened by the extent to which some persons, no less a guest in our country, would go to demonize the “Father of our Nation”.

    Madame President,
    I am not here to hold brief for the late Sir Lynden Pindling or his family but this article went too far in its innuendos, its assertions and its inaccuracies. To assert that Sir Lynden was in one form or another involved in a murder plot is outrageous and “blasphemous”. Further, to talk about him intentionally failing to educate our nation by “dumbing down” the people is not supported by the facts. The facts tell a different story. It was the great vision of Sir Lynden Pindling leading great Bahamian men and women that:-
    • Instituted the policy of Bahamianization and Bahamians first without regard to race politics or religion.
    • Offered free secondary education and the explosion of scholarships for tertiary level education.
    Sir Lynden oversaw the formation of numerous established institutions in our Bahamas, including:-
    • The Central Bank to promote monetary prudence.
    • The National Insurance Board as a social safety net
    • The Bahamas Development Bank to encourage and boost entrepreneurship.
    • The College of The Bahamas and BTVI for the expansion of human capital and human resources.
    • The Bahamas Mortgage Corporation to directly influence the rate of home ownership.
    • The Defense Force for the protection of our natural resources and the boundaries of our archipelagic nation. And
    • Ushered in an Independent Bahamas on July 10 1973.

    Madame President,
    I have intentionally during my short term here in the Senate always been very careful to ensure that I bring the facts to this place in order that they could be placed on the record, not only The Bahamas but the world to see. This has been a deliberate attempt by me and others on this side to present an wall of facts and challenge those who attempt to rewrite history. Sir Lynden’s record when it comes to education is one in which many Bahamians, including my own mother, benefited. She was the recipient of a Government-sponsored scholarship which allowed her to go to University in the United States and obtain a Bachelor and Masters degrees. She was one of thousands of Bahamians who benefited from this program which sought to empower Bahamians through state sponsored education. Those are the facts.

    Madame President,
    The concern I have is that we must be extremely careful when we begin to tear down our national heroes. Today it appears to be Sir Lynden. Tomorrow it could be Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, Sir Kendal Isaacs, the Hon. A. D. Hanna, the Rt. Hon. Hubert Alexander Ingraham, or the Rt. Hon. Perry Gladstone Christie. Nobody wants the memory of their love ones desecrated. There are prominent national hero’s who represented the notorious drug trafficker Joe Lehder in one form of another. Before there was drug trafficking there was rum running and there are many prominent families today who were involved in that trade. But is that reason to launch an inaccurate attack on their legacy and memories with no foundation of truth.
    Madam President
    Mr. Marquis is free to write what he wishes, but he has the responsibility to write the truth. Whether you like Sir Lynden or not he is the father of this nation and there are sufficient facts on the record for the world to see, so that one need not write fantasies.

    Madame President,
    This Bill which was sponsored by Senator Carl Levin in the U.S. Senate has been defeated on a few occasions but we now have a U.S. president who was one of the sponsors of the Bill and there are those who appear determined to ensure that this Bill passes through the Senate and Congress. The global economic crisis has contributed to support from other European nations such the U.K., France and Germany.

    Madame President,
    I am of the opinion that this is the greatest threat now facing our country and is far worse than the crisis we faced during the backlisting of 2000. We are now faced with a highly intense, multi-pronged, multi-national attack on our financial services industry. A meeting of the G-20 countries will be held on April 12th, 2009 in London where Gordon Brown, the prime Minister of Great Britain, is expected to reiterate a speech he gave recently to the U.S. Congress where the tone of his remarks appear now to be moving from the rallying cry of reform of tax havens as it was in the late 90s and early 2000, to the total destruction and annihilation of tax havens without regard to the impact it will have on those nations who have for years relied upon this pillar of their economy to sustain economic growth.

    Madame President,
    At the core of the financial services industry is private banking and if our private banking is dismantled, the financial services industry will be destroyed. The question I have, and many other Bahamians have, is what is the Government’s response to this. This matter was first raised by the Hon. Alfred Sears, Member for Fort Charlotte, in that other place and the response by the Government has been woefully inadequate with the Minister of State for Finance stating that the FNM Government will not overreact and apparently will take a “wait and see” approach. This seems to be typical of what we have come to expect from this Government when we should be taking the lead in the region. This is the approach they took with the blacklisting in the late 1990’s and in 2000 we almost lost an entire pillar of our economy. This FNM government and its proven leader has a history of arrogance and ignorance where they stick their heads in the sand and wait for the storm to pass. Other countries such as Cayman Islands, Barbados and Antigua have already been proactive in this regard.

    Madame President,
    Just to give you an illustration, I will read a News Release dated 9th March, 2009 issued by the Cayman Islands Government. The Government of Barbados has also been proactive in taking a structured approach to signing exchange of information acts or treaties with individual nations apart from the U.S. which is now the only nation with which The Bahamas has an exchange of information treaty. The Government of Antigua has retained the services of one of the top law firms in the U.S. called Rubinstein & Rubinstein LLP who have assisted them in the formulation of arguments to support and encourage co-operation between themselves and the other G-20 countries who have concerns about the financial and regulatory regimes of Antigua. The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners of Great Britain have pointed out that many of the financial regulatory regimes of the countries attempting to attack offshore centres fall well behind international standards.

    Madame President,
    It appears as though the lines between tax avoidance and tax evasion have been blurred and the U.S. and OECD countries have rejected such a distinction. The questions many are asking is:-
    • Are the days of the tax haven as we know it over?;
    • If so will its demise be abrupt or slow and painful?; and
    • If we as a people are faced with such a reality, what are our plans to address this issue and ensure that we provide an alternative and viable industry for the persons so displaced?

    Madame President,
    I was told recently of a story appearing during our days under British rule when there was an initiative by the British to install lighthouses throughout the Colony to assist mariners from running aground on our treacherous shores. I am told that the locals objected to this adamantly stating that to do so would ruin a part of the economy that had developed with the recover of wrecks and their treasurers. Needless to say, the lighthouses were erected and I am not sure to what extent vessels were saved from being wrecked, but I do know that there is no meaningful industry surrounding the recovery of wrecks off our shores. The message there is that at times we are faced with situations which appear to be damaging to us and our economy, but we Bahamians are a resourceful people and have adapted to challenges and circumstances before and we will continue to do so. However, we must be able to rationalize and assess the damage or challenge and determine the degree and severity of risk and develop a plan to address it moving forward. The government should be taking the lead on this, but they are nowhere to be found.

    Madame President,
    Against this backdrop I turn to the matter of Clico Bahamas. Recently Clico Bahamas was forced into liquidation and approximately 140 Bahamians lost their jobs. It is not my intention to point fingers and lay blame. I will take the same approach I took during the Debate for the Resolution to transfer land to Baha Mar during which I stated that there was sufficient blame to go around but what we needed to focus on firstly is what went wrong and secondly to implement measures to ensure that the five reasons mentioned in the letter from Harrah Entertainment to the Baha Mar Group for pulling out were addressed and did not happen again. I see Baha Mar has signed an agreement with the Chinese and hope the government has learnt some valuable lessons from the past handling of Baha Mar.
    Madame President,
    In the same manner, we need to have a forensic investigation into this Clico Bahamas matter, and I suggest the immediate establishment of a Select Committee in Parliament to have full responsibility and authority to get to the bottom of this matter. There is a need for the Government to give full disclosure about this matter. We need to know who the Board of Directors are, the attorneys and the bankers and bring them forward to account.

    Madame President,
    I am troubled and concerned how over $70 million was able to leave this country between the years 2004 to 2008 and by most accounts no one in Government or the regulatory authorities was aware of this. As an attorney and businessman, I am fully aware of the stringent requirements that the regulatory authorities, especially Central Bank, impose on any movement of U.S. dollars in and out of the country. The governor has stated that they central bank is not aware of any application to move money so I am particularly interested in finding out how all of this money left the country.

    Madame President,
    After we get to the bottom of that, we need to move quickly to decide how we will address the concerns and anxiety this matter has caused many Bahamians who were the holders of various insurance policies, health, life or otherwise. Those who were the investors in annuities and those who had simply placed millions of dollars with the insurance company by way of fixed deposits.

    Madame President,
    To date we do not know the exact dollar value Bahamians have at risk in Clico Bahamas; we have heard $23 million, and as much as $60 million – is it somewhere in between or is it like the current worldwide economic crisis so deep that we are unable to ascertain its depth at this time. The truth is that the books and records are there and we should be able to ascertain the facts. The reason this is important is that when CL Financial Limited, the parent of Clico Bahamas ran into financial trouble, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago stepped in and bailed the financial giant out and took control of the company thereby taking over as the shareholder and ultimate body responsible for its debt. The liquidator will no doubt move to sell its assets in The Bahamas which I understand are worth somewhere between $10 and $15 million, but the question is where should the remainder of the funds come from to satisfy the loss incurred by thousands of unsuspecting Bahamians and who should be responsible for paying it? Is it the Government of Trinidad & Tobago? Is it the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas? Is it the Board of Directors, the attorneys or the bankers who may have allowed this money to leave the country without regulatory permission?

    Madame President,
    Someone must be held accountable. We have 39,000 policyholders, millions of dollars in pension fund money which includes but is not limited to ZNS pension plan, the Bahamasair Provident Fund and other unions pension funds which represent thousands of Bahamians who have invested their hard-earned money in Clico. We must hold someone accountable!

    Madame President,
    The FNM and its proven leader appear not to appreciate the urgency of the challenges facing our country. They appear to have no vision, no clarity of focus and with regard to finding solutions for the problems facing our country, they are intellectually bankrupt and are constantly reacting instead of proactively planning and implementing.

    Madame President,
    The truth be told, we should have realized that the “Victory Rally” at Clifford Park shortly after the FNM victory on May 2nd, 2007 was in fact the beginning of the end. It was the preview of policies that would ultimately drag the Bahamian people to the depths of despair and put us on the cusp of economic and financial ruin. At that rally, the Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham laid out the Government’s policy and philosophy during this term. The fatal display of political immaturity marked the beginning of the end of the economic prosperity we had enjoyed the previous 4 years. The firing of government employees by name from the platform ushered in dark cloud of intimidation. Announcing the stop review and cancel policy and falsely stating that there were “ PLP insiders involved in the sale of BTC set the foundation for financial instability. This was the defining moment for the new prime minister and FNM and they fumbled the ball. They failed before they even began. They squandered a golden opportunity.

    Madam President
    This is not the first time they have squandered a golden opportunity. The PLP left Government revenue was at an all time high. And let me make this point just to put the Government revenue in perspective. In 1997, the FNM Government revenue was $736 million. In 2002 when the FNM left office, the Government revenue was $857 million, an increase over the 5 years of 16 percent or 3 percent per annum. During the five years the PLP was in power from 2002 to 2007 the Government revenue increased from $857 million to $1.34 billion dollars, an increase of 56 percent over five years. In other words during the FNM second 5 year term revenue increased by 16%, whereas during the PLP’s 5 years from 2002 -2007 revenue increased by 56%.That’s an average increase of 11 percent per annum. In other words during the FNM second 5 year term revenue increased by 16%, whereas during the PLP’s 5 years from 2002 -2007 revenue increased by 56%. 2007-2009 under the Hubert Ingraham lead government little or no growth.
    Madame President
    Now what we must also take into consideration is that when the PLP came into power in 2002 our GDP rate of growth was 0.8 percent, that is less than one percent and, undoubtedly, the country was experiencing difficult economic times. This is bearing in mind the fact that during the year 1998 under the FNM Government, our country experienced the greatest GDP economic growth of our history of 6.8 percent in that single year. However, in 4 short years it had steadily reduced to less than one percent by 2002 when the PLP returned to office. Can you believe that, 6% drop in GDP growth in 4 years. That’s an average reduction of 1.5% drop per annum. This swift 6 % decline led the then Governor of the Central Bank to state that the then FNM Government had “squandered” a golden opportunity. What he meant by that is that having achieved such a tremendous rate of growth, the then FNM Government was either not able to maintain or increase our rate of growth, but instead we saw a steady and swift decline.

    Madame President
    What is so astounding about the growth in our revenue during 2002 – 2007 – this 56 percent increase in revenue I referred to earlier during the five years the PLP was in office, is when you consider the two fundamental principles which affect Government revenue. The first is that no new taxes were imposed on the Bahamian public – secondly, the Government actually gave tax concessions to Bahamians in the form of (1) duty-free import on materials to many Family Islands; (2) duty-free concession to taxi and livery car owners on the importation of their vehicles to improve our tourist product and (3) the stamp duty exemption on first home owners for properties valued under $250,000 dollars. The FNM Government ceased all of these and it is still unable to match the PLP revenue numbers, only to find the errors of its ways and reinstate all of these initiatives. This is the record of the PLP and the FNM Administrations over the past 10 years. No long story, no smoke and mirrors, no public relations exercise, no political optics, just simple mathematics and hard cold facts.
    Madam President
    The PLP left Hubert Ingraham and the FNM a gift on behalf of the Bahamian people and expected them to be careful, mature and safe custodians of a thriving economy, a 260 million dollar sale for BTC, a 2 billion dollar development with Baha Mar, a well laid out plan for the redevelopment of the City of Nassau, an effective plan for urban renewal and legislation to pave the way for National Health Insurance- universal health care for all Bahamians. The Bahamas had momentum. The PLP handed Hubert Ingraham and the FNM momentum. But it was too much for them to handle and they fumbled it big time.
    Madam President
    What do we have now:-
    • 15 year high unemployment rate
    • Record number of foreclosures
    • Record number of persons leaving private schools and entering the public school system.
    • Record number of children unable to return to university.
    • Record number of person losing their health Insurance and relying on public health care.
    • Record number of electricity, telephone and water disconnections.
    • Record number of persons on food stamps and going to bed hungry.
    And this FNM government has no clue, no vision, no articulated plan apart from giving hand outs and stick their head in the sand and pray the storm passes. That’s not good enough. The Bahamian people demand more. We warned of the effects of sitting back and allowing Atlantis to terminate over 100 workers. This is the FNM government who became famous by its slogan of the mid Nineteen Nineties “let market forces prevail” when the workers of cable beach hotel found themselves out of work. I remember the insensitivity of those words coming from the then Minister of Tourism The Honourable Brent Symonette. Not much has changed, still the government of market forces.

    Madame President,
    I was amused when prior to this debate in that other place I read an editorial in one of the dailies where they challenged the opposition to come up with ideas to help the government through the many crisis they face, much of which is of their own doing. I was amused because I have never read anywhere in this daily or its editorial where they have actually asked the government what its plan is. How are we to give suggestions or present an alternative plan when the government who holds responsibility for the affairs of the nation has presented nothing and is obviously governing from the seat of its pants. Reading the dailies some might think that the PLP is still the government with the attention we receive.
    Madam President
    It is all just a deflection to cover the mistakes of this administration, their many failures and their inability to present a vision beyond firing civil servants and stopping every positive initiative left in place by the previous PLP administration.
    Madam President
    That is why I will not spend much time discussing the Mid-Year Budget statement or the budget itself as page 23 of the Mid-Year Budget Statement states that attempting to analyze the numbers contained in the Mid-Year Budget Statement is really a futile exercise. The Prime Minister states and I quote:-
    “The totals for expenditure and revenue for the first six-month period of the fiscal year must be viewed with caution as there are seasonal and other timing factors in play which will only be eliminated when accounts are closed following the conclusion of the fiscal year. Accordingly, allowance must be made for these factors in analyzing the data.”
    Madam President
    What these means for persons involved in finance and business is that these numbers are not worth their salt. It is a waste of time to look at them let alone have a debate about them. They are meaningless.
    Madam President
    Instead I will turn my attention to the announcement that the Government has borrowed $120 million from the Inter development bank for road works, $150 million from the EXIM Bank of China for infrastructure work and that it would be seeking to borrow a further $200 million from a consortium of Bahamian banks to cover Government’s shortfall in revenue and capital and infrastructural works. 50 Million for BEC. This is over half a billion dollars in one year. I concerned madam President, very concerned. I raised this issue of our debt during the last 2008/2009 Budget debate.
    The National Debt
    Madam President
    This is what I said during that debate:
    “I would like to deal with the issue of the National Debt that the Prime Minister claims that the PLP accumulated during its 5 years in office. He states that the PLP accumulated 828 million dollars in debt in 5 years. I am not sure where he got this number from, but I know he did not get it from the Central Bank reports and how do I know because I checked. As far as I am aware the Central Bank is the independent agency that tracks all financial indicators as they relate to our economy, balance of payments, debt etc. According the Central Bank reports at the end of June 2002 (2nd quarter), the national debt stood at 2.224 billion dollars and at the end of June 2007 (2nd quarter) the national debt stood at 2.889. Therefore based on the Central Bank reports the national debt increased by 665 million dollars during the PLP’s 5 years in office. Remember when I mentioned earlier that when the PLP came to office in 2002 we met a 100 million dollar overdraft at the Royal Bank of Canada and 25 million in trade payables. Well one of the first things we had to do when we came to office in 2002 was borrow 125 million dollars to cover this overdraft and pay outstanding bills left behind by the FNM. And they want talk bout mess. So when you subtract this 125 million from the 665 million you end up with 540 million dollars. 540 million dollars over 5 years is what the PLP is responsible for not 828 million dollars.
    Madam President
    Where did this extra 300 million dollars come from. I have no idea, but I suspect the same place where the surplus came from in the mid term budget. You will recall the Prime Minister was talking about a surplus during the mid term Budget, then the Central Bank reports came out and revealed that for the first 6 months the FNM government was running a 100 million dollar deficit. “The truth is a stubborn thing” as the Prime Minister said in that other place, but I also submit that so are fact and figures and sometimes I wonder whether the Prime Minister’s “facts” are a figment of his imagination, because when it comes to facts and figures, it’s almost as if he makes it up as he goes along. No facts to support the outrageous claim of 828 million dollars in debt during the PLP’s 5 years in office.
    Madam President
    You may ask why would the Prime Minister tell such a blatant untruth. I will give you a hint, the deficit last year under the FNM was in excess of 200 million and this year’s will be worse, so realistically in 2 years this FNM government would have accumulated 500 million dollars in debt equaling what it took the PLP 5 years to accumulate. I suggest that is why the FNM are coming up with these phantom numbers.
    Madam President
    Another point of interest when looking at the national debt is keeping a close eye on the portion which makes up the foreign currency part on the debt. When the PLP took office in 2002 the foreign currency debt was 525 million dollars or 23.6% of the National debt which stood at 2.224 billion dollars. In 2007 when we left office the foreign currency part of our debt was reduced to 430 million dollars or 15% of our National debt of 2.889 billion. The FNM government has already borrowed 100 million in US dollars since coming to office to boost our foreign reserves so our foreign currency debt has increased over 500 million dollars again. This is something we must keep a close eye on as our foreign currency debt is directly linked to the strength of our dollar.”
    Madam President
    That was in June 2008. In 2 years the Ingraham led FNM government has increased our national debt by 750 million dollars or 3/4 of a billion dollars and have absolutely nothing to show for it. In 2 years they have borrowed 50% more than the PLP borrowed in 5 years. This is frightening. This is the result of failed economic policies, arrogance, ignorance, political immaturity and good old fashion hard headedness. Not even sure if that is a word, but sometimes you have to invent new words to describe the unprecedented conditions the Bahamian people find themselves as a result of the many failures of this administration.
    Madam President
    Madam President
    The words “Stimulus Plan” have been thrown around recently and many Bahamians have been forced to ask:-
    • what stimulus means in relation to our economy,
    • what is its focus,
    • what impact can we expect it to have,
    • how will the stimulus and its impact be measured.

    In my mind an economic stimulus should be goal-oriented, utilized for a particular short term purpose such as the creation of jobs and improving infrastructure. But it should always be focused on a long term strategy such as creating or strengthening sustainable industries which make up a country’s vision for its future industries which will drive its economy. It should have a short-term and long-term component. It should be focused and detailed in such a manner that it is plain and simple for the ordinary person to understand and, lastly, there must be some means to measure its success. In its simplest form, I would like to read a letter written by Lynden Nairn to the Editor of the Tribune on January 10th, 2009.

    Madam President
    What is missing from the governments Stimulus package and which gives rise to concern for myself and thousands of Bahmians is that the Government has not articulated and addressed the four points I mentioned above.
    • what stimulus means in relation to our economy
    • what is its focus, both short and long term
    • what impact can we expect
    • how will it be measured.

    Madame President,
    I see no sense at this time in spending $120 million on building new roads where only a couple hundred Bahamians at the most will be hired and at the end of the day it will not impact or improve our GDP or expand our economic base. To make matters worse, the contract was not awarded to a Bahamian company or Bahamian contractors as was done in the past by the previous Administration.

    Madame President,
    When you are taking on this amount of debt – and I am extremely concerned about the level of debt that we have taken on over the last two years since this Administration has come to power – to have to ensure that the money that is used from the debt in some way increases our GDP so that as the debt increases so does the GDP in order to maintain the debt to GDP ratios which ultimately affect our creditworthiness as a country and our ability to borrow money in the future.

    Madame President,
    I would give a few examples of areas where I think the money could have been better spent and where it would have achieved short-term and long-term goals and would have resulted in our country being able to ensure success and contribute toward the long term sustainability of various industries in our economy.

    Madame President,
    1. Agriculture
    I believe instead of hiring thousands and spending millions dollars to hire people to clean the streets that we could have devised an agricultural program which would have put these people to work preparing land to plant food to sustain not only themselves but the country. I saw a number of persons cleaning the side of the roads in areas such as Sans
    Souci off the Eastern Road. This made absolutely no sense. This is old school thinking, lacking in imagination and of no benefit to the country long term. The following day the dirt was back and what do we as a country have to show for it? Absolutely nothing!

    Madame President,
    2. Religious Tourism
    We can build an appropriate convention center. In Washington, we attended a concert at Constitution Hall which seated 5,000. I am told by religious leaders that this is sufficient for us to attract the religious conventions. Why not build such a Hall after consulting religious leaders so that when this economic crisis passes we will be positioned to take advantage of the millions of dollars spent annually of religious conventions which we are presently unable to take advantage of because we do not have suitable facilities.
    As an extra it would also be fantastic for musical concerts.

    Madame President,
    3. Education
    I was particularly disappointed to have read recently the Minister of Education state that he was not sure when the college of Bahamas would become the University of the Bahamas. We did all the work and left the ball in their hand. Please don’t this one. Not again. Bring the enabling legislation to parliament. Spend some of this stimulus money on the University of the Bahamas. This is money well spent, an investment in our future. Build students dorms so that when the college becomes a university we will be able to take in foreign students and house them.
    Madam President
    The PLP had a vision for the college of the Bahamas driven by a clarity of purpose. Under the stellar Chairmanship of Mr. Franklyn Wilson, we charted a focused and deliberate course and got stakeholders from throughout the length and breadth of the Bahamas to participate in this goal, which enabled us to buy the building opposite the College, renovate it to what is now the Michael H. Eldon Complex which encompasses the Chapter One book store; which allowed us to design and refurbish the old GHS Hall into a state of the art centre for the performing arts; which allowed us to put up a bandshell for the staging of official college events, concerts, etc.; which allowed us to add two new classroom blocks, to build an indoor gym and shower facility, to embark on a plan for a Northern Bahamas campus in Freeport by securing 200 acres of land and agreeing a plan for that development and sending it out for bid. In addition to that, we were able to enter into an Industrial Agreement with the Faculty Union and agree a salary structure reflective of their qualifications and ability combined with a clear and transparent system for advancement within their field.

    Madame President,
    However, the achievement I am most proud of is that we were able to finalize the plans for the Harry C. Moore Library, receive bids, choose a contractor and today we see the Library rising up from the ground and it is scheduled to be completed in mid 2010. History has shown us that no great city exist today without a world class center for higher learning and indeed no great city can maintain its edge without continued investment in the research and development arm of its Educational institutions.
    Madam President
    Let me read parts of a recent letter written to the editor of the tribune which appeared in the March 2nd edition wriiten by H. Wade Maclauchlan.:-
    So again I beg please don’t drop the ball on this one. We did all the work all you have to do is take the credit.

    Madame President,
    During my last contribution I made certain comments with regard to the leaps and bounds the Irish economy had made over the past twenty to thirty years and the role education played in the advancement of that economy and some of those on the other side remarked that the Irish economy is in a “shambles” – I think was the word that was used. I did not stop during my contribution to address this as I knew that my time was short, and I would most likely use up my 45 minutes which, as you recall, I did.
    Madame President,
    The point I want to make is two-fold. Firstly, economies all around the world are in a shambles. The greatest economy in the world, the United States of America, is in a shambles to the extent that no one can predict with any certainty the depth or length of this present recession. The second point is that I do not want the message which I outlined during that part of my contribution on the importance of education and the need for us to focus on it to be lost either because of who the messenger was or because of the example I chose. The truth is there are many developing and developed countries who have made a concerted effort to concentrate on education and reaped the rewards of it. It is also true today that most, if not all, of those countries face some degree of economic meltdown but that does not take away from the fact that when the economy rebounds, those countries will be better suited to take advantage and assist in the financial and economic recovery of their countries because they have built educational capacity and invested in training to give themselves the best opportunity to rebound.
    Madam President
    The last point I would like to make is that over the past few months, I have brought many questions to this place on matters which I deem are relevant to certain areas of governance and accountability and I have been disappointed that those on the other side have not dealt with these matters in a judicious manner. We are here today, and I have more questions to put to the other side, and I will continue at every meeting to ask questions. I am concerned that it appears that this “Government in the Sunshine” which boasts of accountability and transparency are dragging their feet and intentionally withholding information.
    Madame President,
    I would hope that this issue of responding to questions will be addressed and given the degree of importance it deserves.
    Thank you.

    Madame President,
    4. Even the government had said it would spend some of the stimulus money on sporting facilities throughout the Bahamas, an new hospital for Nassau and grand bahama, or a new judicial complex for New Providence. Bahamians could buy into that.
    Madame President,
    What do we hear from the government ? They will use borrowed money as part of the stimulus package to purchase Kelly Dock. What? Did I just miss something? What in God’s name is the government doing Purchasing Kelly’s Dock. Where’s the short or long term benefit to the Bahamas and Bahamians. Why not pay the hundreds of Bahamians who’s land has been compulsorily acquired. What madness is this. I am reminded of the quote “that whom the god’s destroy they first send crazy”.
    Madam President
    Is this a deal struck between the FNM government and the Kelly family to persuade them to move their shipping business off of Bay Street? If so who is next, which other shipping business will be the benefactor of the stimulus package; the Symonette family?

    The Port

    Madam President
    The government has announced that it will construct a manmade Island just west of Arawak cay at Saunders beach using dredged materials from the harbor. However, in 2006 A report was commissioned from Ecorys Inc., by the Government and the private sector at a shared cost of $500,000 to determine the cost and feasibility of a new port after the EDAW report in conjunction with the Coastal Systems International Environmental impact Assessment, concluded that the Southwest Port was the best location for the port. The Ecorys report was concluded and presented to the Government last September, 1 year and a half ago and still today no mention of it, not one word, not even an acknowledgement that they received it. The Bahamian people contributed $250,000 towards this report and they will not even tell the people what it contains.
    After extensive research and analysis, the EDAW Group concluded the following:-
    “The project design team investigated seven possible new locations for the consolidation of cargo activities which included
    (1) No action/optimization of the existing port facilities downtown;
    (2) Arawak Cay;
    (3) Clifton Point;
    (4) Power Plant;
    (5) South Ocean;
    (6) Adelaide; and
    (7) Coral Harbour.
    Relevant information for the alternatives analysis/assessment was obtained through literature review, a series of site visits and field inspections, interviews with Government officials, stakeholder meetings, and preparation of an intensive coastal engineering analysis for each of the project alternate sites. The project team used the compiled data to evaluate each potential port relocation site according to a matrix of criteria covering environmental impacts, compatibility with island long term master planning, engineering and construction issues and socio-economic concerns.”
    They concluded the following based on the Coastal Systems International Environmental Assessment:
    “From their review of all available data concerning the proposed cargo relocation and consolidation project, the project team selected the power plant site as the preferred alternative. Relocating the port to the Power Plant site would clearly meet the Project goals of increasing port capacity, beautifying downtown Nassau and alleviating traffic. In terms of environmental impacts, construction of a port facility at the Power Plant would minimize the impact to marine resources to the greatest extent practicable.”
    What I find most troubling about the government’s decision to move the port to the area of Arawak Cay is that they have done so without the support of any report, study or analysis. Apparently on a whim. In fact the Coastal System EIA data supported a view that it was better to leave the port downtown rather than move it to Arawak Cay. Of the 7 locations examined Arawak Cay was ranked 6 as the least desirable location, with downtown (the existing site) ranking 5th ahead of Arawak Cay. Only Clifton Point was ranked behind Arawak Cay at number 7 as the least desirable location. Maybe one day soon the government will be forced to reveal to the Bahamian people why they are making another bone headed decision and moving the port to Arawak Cay.
    Madam President
    Of the many mistakes made during the past 22 months this decision will rank as their greatest failure. The site of a container port on the Western Shore will be a constant reminder to this generation and future generations of a Hubert Ingram led FNM government that was unwilling to listen to reason.
    Madam President
    That is why the Leader of the Opposition in that other place and we in this have made it quite clear to the Government that we will not support the move of the Container Port to Arawak Cay or Saunders beach without reasonable data to support such a move. We have gone further and sent a message to those would be investors in the port at Arawak Cay that we do not support it and they invest at their own risk. We issued a similar message once before on the Clifton Development and we issue the same message again. Buyer beware.
    Madam President
    I table a plan from the ministry of works for proposed road works which was distributed recently at a meeting with residents of the vista marina subdivision which sits just west of the Shell gas station on West bay St. It was explained that this new road is being built to accommodate the traffic from the new port at Saunders Beach. Madness. Can you imagine the destruction to Saunders beach.
    Madam President
    In closing I would like to raise two points; the first point I would like to make is that over the past few months, I have brought many questions to this place on matters which I deem are relevant to certain areas of governance and accountability and I have been disappointed that those on the other side have not dealt with these matters in a judicious manner. We are here today, and I have more questions to put to the other side, and I will continue at every meeting to ask questions. I am concerned that it appears that this “Government in the Sunshine” which boasts of accountability and transparency are dragging their feet and intentionally withholding information.

    Madame President
    Lastly, during the Valentine’s Day weekend I and my wife had the privilege of traveling to South Andros and staying at the Emerald Palm Resort. I was able to take advantage of a special that the resort was running in the local dailies which offered a reduction in the roundtrip airfare and concessionary rates at the hotel which included breakfast and dinner. Needless to say it was a fabulous weekend. The accommodations at the resort were second to none, and we were able to enjoy an unlimited supply of fresh coconut water, switcher and various Bahamian dishes. I was impressed that I could have such an enjoyable weekend which cost between $700 and $800. I was disappointed, however, that only about five other couples from Nassau took advantage of this special particularly bearing in mind so many others talking about using the Valentine’s weekend to go shopping in Florida.
    Madame President,
    During this time of economic slowdown and the pressure that exists on various local businesses throughout The Bahamas as they struggle to keep their heads above water and pay their various expenses, I want to encourage resorts throughout The Bahamas to find ways to work with the airlines flying to their islands to give Bahamians an economical vacation plan which includes a food package.
    Madame President,
    I also want to encourage the Minister of Tourism and the Government to continue to work with these small hotel owners in an effort to encourage Bahamians to keep their hard earned dollars at home so that the money continues to circulate within our economy thereby preserving many, many jobs and creating opportunities for many people. I have to point out that there is a concern amongst small hotel operators throughout the country that in the allocation of the Ministry’s budget more focus should be given to the small hotels, especially now, and a greater thrust put into encouraging Bahamians to vacation at home on special occasions such as Valentine’s, Easter, etc. Therefore, I implore the Minister to continue to utilize his creative energy to find ways to help these smaller hotels throughout the country as they go through a difficult period perhaps either by direct subsidy or contributing towards the advertising budget at home.

  3. Well this is what us bahamian choose so we have to live with these wutless men. When one party was talking rara and chop of hand if u put your hand in the piggy jar and the other party was talking about a billion or so that is sign in contract we wasnt investigating the fact. So after these wutless men and by the way women rape and rob the country this lap maybe the next time we voters will look for some substance. Obviously these guys will have filled there piggy banks, but if history has taught us anything then we know enough is never enough so they will give us the pleasure of kicking to the curve

  4. It’s amazing how the folks from the old port, right up to the promised new port, are benefitting from just being on Bay St. One group has duty free exemptions for Bay St, while the other has the taxpayers money building a new port for them. Or are they one and the same?

  5. D.Crane :It’s a pity that those who vote these clowns in, seem to get nothing in return, but the small group, the so called elites on the Bahamas, the Oligarchy, this town, get what they’ve have paid for, yet we think our votes count, this stuff is deep, and the deeper we go, the more dirt we will find, any local media reporters willing to get dirty, we need campaign reform in this country, to know where the money is coming from, please some politician, any politician grow a pair, and step up.

    D Crane…you are sooo right. I’ve been saying it all along. If you arent in that small inner circle, where the money floats around and never comes out, nothing is happening for you. The rich are getting richer and the poor, who are voting these clowns in, are getting poorer and abused.I hope come next election day EVERY STUDENT STUDYING ABROAD whose money from the government guaranteed loan system got cut off remembers what happened to them and votes AGAINST these jokers. I hope the parents of those students do the same. Let Hubert go back to the days of driving around jobless and poor so he can know how it feels all over again. Or maybe he has gotten ENOUGH SUSTAINANCE to go on for the rest of his life……..
    Kim…you are right…maybe its a blessing home boy wasnt in town for the Ms. Universe activities. Note too that he came back in town yesterday and is off to Atlanta today for the opening of the Kay Forbes Office in Atlanta. He really likes to support everything Kay does, doesnt he? hmmmmmm…… STILL he did not check for anything the Ms. Universe contestants were doing. I think it was all a plan. Keep the short drunk away for those girls…less law suits to settle in this suffering economy.

  6. Even raw gin wouldnt have us crazy enough to believe them, Media.

    Lou, I really feel your pain. As a father of sons who will one day be going to college, this really saddens me. I cannot imagine preparing everything based on the government’s educational loan programme and then WHAM! they pull the rug right from under my family. That is damn HEARTLESS!!! I say it over and over again, Hubert Ingraham cares nothing about the people of this country….NOTHING. If you aint white or rich…aint nothing happening for you. Lou, thank God you are in a position to make a Plan B. Suppose you were like some poor people who have NO Plan B and have to make their children come home and look for non-existent jobs? It is happening and yet the government ministers say everything is peachy clean with their governance. I think that drunken Hubert feeding the ministers rum and its messing with their heads…SOMETHING aint right.

  7. It’s a pity that those who vote these clowns in, seem to get nothing in return, but the small group, the so called elites on the Bahamas, the Oligarchy, this town, get what they’ve have paid for, yet we think our votes count, this stuff is deep, and the deeper we go, the more dirt we will find, any local media reporters willing to get dirty, we need campaign reform in this country, to know where the money is coming from, please some politician, any politician grow a pair, and step up.

  8. Mr Laing couldn’t see his way out of a hole, with a ladder and a flashlight. The man is an idiot. I hate that he even calls himself a man of God, and turns around and lies shamelessly to the Bahamian people. These people are crazy. They really believe we ‘drinking the kool-aid.’

  9. I’ll make this statement again – we Bahamians aren’t stupid ! We will always give someone “benefit of the doubt”. We have eagerly watched just how focused the Americans were, during their Presidential Campaign and Elections, and …we have learned to separate facts….from foolishness and utter LIES ! We will be focused….we will remember…WE WILL…make a change! I have always had a Fantasy of one day moving into Politics…to help my fellow brothers and sisters..my children, and grandchild. My contribution will come…I am ready !

  10. @LOU
    Well Lou I see he’s on your topic now. They could not find money for the children, but they found $74 million for 19 families.

    They cannot find insurance for the nurses, but they found money -$74 million of it – for 19 families.

    They cannot build a straw market, but they could find $74 million for 19 families. SO NOW WE KNOW!

    Bahamas Press/Editor

  11. They really, truly think, that Bahamians are STUPID !!! At least they should admit their mistakes and show some humility….All I can say is that they “beggin” for the worst beatin a Govt could ever get !!!! Oh, boy, I can’t wait for ELECTIONS !!!! I think the Bahamian people will, “Show dem better than they can tell dem”..

  12. Tommy Turnquest is now on Love97FM saying his WUTLESS government fired no one. Now this is amazing to hear this. Turnquest department alone sent home officers who had reach 55. What short memory these people have.

    And now he’s saying some Bahamians are making this recession thing up. BOY THIS ONE DELUSIONAL BUNCH!


  13. We as a people..need to put “our vote, where our mouth is”….Our time will come! We have the power to really “show” this Govt, just what grade they truly deserve !!! They can brag and boast as much as they like – we have the final word! But, we have to remain calm, focus and NOT GULLIBLE (like the last time). I am a victim of the Guarnteed Loan fiasco. My family and I took vacation in July, because that was when our daughter’s school was suppose to open (20th July). We bought everything she needed for school, paid and signed apartment lease, left a down payment on her school fee and not to mention All the other things we paid for such as student visa, etc.. I always say that this Govt has No “feelings” for the poor man, and definitely No vision. Whether they are loosing money or not they should ALWAYS be providing ways and means to educate and promte the standard of it’s people! My daughter is studying CRIMINAL JUSTICE, specializing in FORENSIC SCIENCE – which we need in this country ! Now, we are scrambling with a plan “B” to keep her in school, and her being a youth of our nation,not to shatter her dreams as well …

  14. These men wicked aye? Aint no way these three men could believe the governing party which they are apart of is doing a good job. All this foolishness they doing, let them stay right there smiling and patting each other on the back and talking about they are doing a good job. I know one thing time is not as long as it has been. They believe if they keep singing they are doing a good job, eventually they would get people to believe them and join in the chorus. They need to realize you could fool some of the people some of the time, but can’t fool all the people all of the time. We are not delusional, we are hurting too much not to notice what is really going on, Therefore, you need not waste precious time evaluating and glorifying yourselves, because you did not put yourselves in those in those positions, it was the people and we will be the ones during the evaluations in the next general election. Judging by what is going on now, it isn’t looking too promising for you all.

  15. @Drama King
    I don’t know if the Prime Minister normally takes his vacation around this time of the year, but that is the same thing I was wondering about, why did he pick such a convenient time to be out of the country? I say maybe he did not want to be here in the event something went wrong, but everything seems to be going well with the pageant except for the fact they had to postpone the float. Drama, when I thought about him not being here further, I came to the conclusion maybe it was for the best, because we all know how he is carry on, always drinking and laughing those boisterous laughs. Trust me; I believe it worked out for the best. He got to enjoys his day Alaskan Cruise and plus he save us the embarrassment. You ever heard about killing two birds with one stone?

  16. JT indeed this is all a shame. I dont even want to get started on the Government Guaranted Loan system. The suspension was more than a slap in the damn face. I am told that it affect too many people to mention. It all goes to show the uncaring set of people running this country. They simply dont care about the Bahamian people.

  17. The way I see it, people would rather hold on to their hopes that the leader of the FNM will “save the day” as he promised. Bahamians do not like to admit their wrong even when it is right in their face. There are so many arguments we can make, so many disappointments, so many scandals and disregard for this country on behalf of this administration. It is so sad to see people suffering. This nation is suffering. Open your eyes. The same government esteems foreigners higher than it does the people that gave them their place. Our schools were already suffering, yet the budget for education is practically null and void. Students depending on the guaranteed loan will not be able to attend university. Crime is out of control. This government has nothing to be proud of, absolutely nothing. I can’t stand when Zhivargo Laing speaks. He is an idiot, and he proves it repeatedly. Don’t even get me started on Tommy T., and these are the people that are supposed to be working for us. My fellow Bahamians, you’ve been duped!!!

  18. These three damn fellas delusional eh? Or they live in Acklins or something and reporting on what going on down there? They cant be talking bout the rest of the Bahamas!! Cant be!! Every flipping day some one getting robbed or gunned down. We are almost prisoners in our homes. They have a serial rapist on the loose and they probably have to put the damn police in classrooms now seeing that the teachers are raping up the students instead of teaching them.

    What the hell does the FNM Cablnet Ministers have to be proud of? They should all be holding their heads in shame after their spiteful leader shut down all the damn projects which were set to keep this economy afloat when the world’s economy would be in trouble. People are out there hurting with no jobs. Men are now resorting to tiefing to feed their children. For God’s sake the damn POLICE tiefing and threatening to kill people. Every day you watch the news, one of them in court for some crime. Who can you trust?? Yet the FNM Ministers say they proud. And, where is their leader when they saying this? Conveniently on vacation. He aint ga make no fool of himself but he has his lackies doing it. Shame! Shame! Shame!
    Speaking of him and vacation. We are inthe world’s spotlight for the past few weeks. Ms. Universe activities buzzing this town, yet the chief is off the island. This man dont care bout this country. When will the Bahamian people realize that?

  19. You mean wa yal done buss up tear down and urinate on???? The best prayer tonight should be to replace Hubert Ingraham as leader of the FNM and let a real FNM lead the party with no UBP gangstas at ya throat and no Old PLP headin the ship either…

  20. I want to say Happy Birthday to all my FNM friends. For 17 years we have kept strong and fought well! Tonight as we pray for the city and our leadership, let us work together to build and develop our nation.


  22. It is said that”NO LIE LIVES FOR LONG”,these stats proved that the FNM LIED on sir Lynden Oscar Pindling in 1992 when they claimed that our economy was in ruins because of mismanagement.From 1992-1997 due to sir Lynden’s MASTERFUL management of the economy the FNM only had to borrowed a little over 414 million dollars,however this amount was DOUBLE during the 1997-2002 period.NOW DURING THIS PERIOD 2007-SEPTEMBER 2009 THE FNM WOULD HAVE BORROWED IN EXCESS OF 700 MILLION DOLLARS!!!

  23. What amazed me was minister Laing talking about crime being under control. Did anyone see how he acted like the leader out of the bunch??? He was trying to take over the whole show!!

    If Jones were to check his records he would see that Laing used to call his show when the FNM was in opposition talking about how crime was out of control but murders under the PLP’s govt never once was as high or higher than the record that the FNM had in their previous govt between 1997-2002 or over the past 2 years under this new term!!! Jones seems not to do much research though…

    Laing has NO SHAME…NONE!!!

  24. BP you on point with this one. Did you hear the DPM at the end of the show? Bragging about how the “opened” the airwaves. How long ago did they do that? And they have done nothing of note since that? People dying! People Starving! People need jobs! Ministry of Education failing! Crime out of control, my lord they WUTLESS!

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