March 10, 2012
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham is refusing to be accountable for the actions of his government, Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell has charged. Mitchell issued a response to Ingraham's address at a Free National Movement (FNM) event in Golden Gates Thursday night.
It was issued on behalf of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). Mitchell said Ingraham continues to trash talk at rallies instead of dealing with the issue of his failure to keep the people of this country employed and in a crime free environment.
"He must answer the question to the Bahamian people why he is not as he promised hanging his head in shame because of his inability to bring criminals to trial on a speedy basis," Mitchell said. The PLP has in recent times been running an advertisement using Ingraham in his own words which were spoken in 2007.
Referring at that time to former Prime Minister Perry Christie, Ingraham said he would hang his head in shame if he could not cause 100 people charged with murder to be brought to trial within two years. At the FNM Golden Gates event, National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest repeated a point he has been making frequently, and that is the point that there were high crime rates in areas where the PLP's version of Urban Renewal operated.
But Mitchell said in response that, "The fact is that serious crimes between 2002 and 2007 were reduced by 30 percent, but have increased by 19 percent between 2007 and 2011. "The fact is the empirical data shows that Urban Renewal was a qualified success and the PLP is committed to introducing Urban Renewal 2.0 upon our return to government in short order."
Mitchell said, "Minister Tommy Turnquest must accept that murders have doubled under his watch and the FNM government has fundamentally failed to keep Bahamians safe." Mitchell also charged that the prime minister's term includes one story after the next of the abuse of government power, government money for raw political purposes -- "chief amongst these, giving a monopoly to his cronies at the port in Nassau and selling BTC at a fire sale price while putting Bahamian workers on the bread line.
He should be ashamed of himself". Mitchell also raised the matter of the controversial New Providence Road Improvement Project, which Ingraham recently said is $77 million over budget. The PLP MP called the project a 'fiasco' and claimed it is around $93 million over budget and "rank with conflicts of interest and gross mismanagement".
"The prime minister continued to blame the road works fiasco on the PLP to deflect from his government's failure to properly manage this important project. The FNM accepts no responsibility for this failure," Mitchell said. Ingraham said in the House of Assembly on Monday that major challenges associated with the project included the discovery of a number of sink holes and mapped, unmapped and unaccounted for underground utilities, which required modified drawings.
The escalation of fuel costs was also a major challenge for the contractors. "At the start of the project in 2001, the price of oil was just over $20 a barrel," he said, suggesting that had the PLP moved earlier on the project money could have been saved. At the signing of the contract with Jose Cartellone Construcciones Civiles, the price of oil was $66 a barrel.
It is now over $100 a barrel and rising." Mitchell also said the prime minister continued to blame the PLP for the industrial action of customs and immigration workers even though his government was clearly at fault. The MP added, "The prime minister bragged about 4,000 Bahamas Electricity Corporation customers whose lights have been turned (back on).
"The prime minister and his government through their mismanagement of the economy caused thousands of households to live without electricity for years. This is clearly an election ploy as many of those BEC customers are still unemployed."
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