April 29, 2012
Fellow Bahamians; Young People; Bimini:
I understand that they had another All About Ingraham PLP Rally last night in Nassau. They seem to think that “it’s all about me”. They clearly don’t understand that it’s all about you, the Bahamian people. They believe that it’s all about me because I am standing in their way.
What they don’t understand is that I’m not here in their way because I put myself here. I am here because you, and the good people of The Bahamas put me here. So they could be as vex as they want to be and cuss me as much as they like.
I take my responsibilities to you seriously. I serve as the gate-keeper to keep them out. Without me and the FNM they would happily go about their wheeling and dealing and dishonesty and crookedness; they would sell you out.
They tell me that last night, Dame Marguerite Pindling told many stories about me. I understand the good Lady’s hurt at losing the life of privilege she believed she is entitled to live at the expense of the Bahamian people forever and ever. Well power in this country belongs to the people and those of us who are fortunate enough to get elected should never forget that.
They cause me to remember the saying: when you are rich, do not squander; when you are poor, do not cry. Many in the elite and leadership of that other Party would do well to learn and remember that.
Yes, you and I caused her and them to lose their positions of entitlement. We do not regret having done so one little bit. It was time for them to go and we must together ensure that they never come back.
They do not have your interest at heart. They call their Rallies Rush for Gold; what they really mean is rush for oil!
The message I have for you is the message that I have taken throughout the length and breadth of our islands: you can count on the FNM to deliver for you. We are the Party of proven and tested leadership. We are the Party with a record of deliverance on promises made. We take our election commitments as solemn oaths – they are not vote-getting tactics and strategies; our promises are exactly what we plan and intend to deliver for you.
As simple as that garbage dump that was in Bimini all those years catching fire all the time, the PLP in 26 years in office could not move the garbage out of Bimini.
To deliver on those commitments we need a good, solid FNM team in the House of Assembly; a team that represents tried and tested leadership, professional and entrepreneurial expertise and youthful energy and talent. I ask you to help your FNM Delivery Team to finish the good work we began in 1992, and continued in 2007. An important part of that team will be Pakesia Parker Edgecombe.
And David [Wallace] (former MP and Bimini rally MC) was right you know, when I told him I needed a change in Bimini because I want to win Bimini this time. I wasn’t going to send you something re-tread or re-hashed, I’ve sent you something new for Bimini, fresh meat!
Many others sought the nomination for Bimini. She (Pakesia) has been chosen for you! Deliver her to me!
We need young and dynamic team members like Pakesia Parker Edgecombe on the FNM’s Delivery Team. She is a well-known journalist and a familiar face. Pakesia is also very community-minded and deeply interested in youth development and teaching reading. She is a great example of the Opportunity Society!
And so I ask you to help build our FNM team by ensuring that come next Monday you support me, vote FNM and make Pakesia your next MP!
I know that some of you have long given your support to that other Party. They do not have your best interest at heart. And so I ask that you come with me this time and help make history as we sweep all five Grand Bahama and Bimini seats and indeed as we make a clean sweep in the Family Islands. You will be a part of making history as the FNM wins a fourth term in office.
Women, and young women especially: As a wife, and as a mother of young children, Pakesia knows the daily challenges of balancing the demands of family life and work. We are fortunate that she came forward and offered herself for service.
As a mother, a professional and as someone interested in public life she will also bring an especially important perspective on issues affecting women, youth and children.
Her coverage of the news has given her an in-depth knowledge of the life and the aspirations and needs of Grand Bahama and Bimini. So Pakesia will be a voice on a range of issues affecting all Bahamians.
When he was a journalist Obie may have had his ear and his feet more on the ground He’s lost touch with you now. He is now yesterday’s story. Make some good and new news by sending Pakesia to the House.
The Christie-led PLP is neglectful of you. They care only for themselves.
I remember painfully the December 2010 fire which destroyed a number of homes here. I immediately dispatched my Minister of Labour and Social Development to see what emergency relief you required and what the Government could extend to assist.
It took the PLP, who represent you in the House, two full days to get to here. There is late-again and there is shameful neglect. I don’t know if the leader of that Party ever showed up. Reports assert that he was partying in Exuma while the people of Bimini suffered.
Your MP turned up 48 hours after the fire. Many of you were deeply disappointed though not surprised that it took him that long to show up. If truth be told Obie has been a neglectful MP.
What had to be especially painful for many of you was notwithstanding their neglect of you; that Party’s Deputy Leader Brave Davis and your MP dashed out to Fire Trail Road in Nassau the day after a bad fire in that area.
They went there to pose for the cameras. They like profiling. They like lights and camera. But when it comes to action they run away as fast as a tief running from the law.
They always do their deeds accompanied by the press so that it can all be recorded; not so their misdeeds which they cover up! But, when the camera and lights shut off…bush crack…PLP Leadership gone.
In Grand Bahama following the devastating 2004 and 2005 hurricanes it took Perry and Brave almost a week to get there…a whole week! Even after promising all manner of relief very little was done.
They talk. They do not deliver. The PLP talk a good game. Talkers they are. Deliverers they are not.
Bimini, it’s time for a fresh start. Obie had his opportunity and he squandered it. He failed to deliver for you. Give Pakesia a chance – kick Obie out!
While the PLP took 48 hours to get to Bimini after the fire, your FNM Government was on the ground within hours of the fire providing tangible assistance.
And you know, when I say kick Obie out, I told him this before –I’d give him a job; he is a good broadcaster. So as soon as he loses his seat he can come see me; I’ll give him a job. I have nothing against him. I like him; he’s just been a bad MP, that’s all.
The funny thing is that that though Obie likes to talk and profile just as much as the rest of them, you notice that almost nary a public word has been heard from him this election. Maybe he thinks silence is golden. He’s a senior man in the PLP. At one time, they were even talking about him as a future leader of the Party.
Why are they hiding Obie? Why should the voters of West End and Bimini vote for someone his own party doesn’t want to have on the public stage. If you embarrassed by somebody before the election, you’ll still be embarrassed by them after the election.
The PLP produced many an embarrassment in the last election. Do you ever hear about Sidney Stubbs, Vincent Peet, Keod Smith, Bradley Roberts, Allyson Maynard and shameless Shane Gibson?
We are happy with Pakesia and all of our candidates. We don’t have to hide no one or ban them from speaking. None of our candidates are in the Witness Protection Programme.
Those who oppose us cannot and will not change. They are only interested in their personal wellbeing and the growth of their personal wealth. They have no interest in you or in making life better for you and your children.
Last Friday the Leader of the Opposition confirmed his paid consultancy with a company seeking to explore and drill for oil in The Bahamas. Last night, reacting to the shock and dismay of even members of his own Party who could not understand why or accept that their leader would place himself in a position so rife with conflict of interest potential, he desperately tried to backtrack. He wants to change his story now so that it reads that he “used to be the consultant” to the Company on these matters. It is a lie. He was the consultant at the time.
The record on this matter is very clear and shows exactly how some members of that compromised Party use political office to advance their personal fortunes.
The Bahamas Government, lead by their Party, awarded five exploration licenses to the Oil Company in 2006. They didn’t make those licenses effect though until April 2007. Voted out of office one month later, the new Leader of the Opposition and the man who would soon enough become the Deputy Leader of the party, Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, promptly took the Oil Company on as clients.
What is more, Jerome Gomez, one of those supposed “fresh faces” that the Leader of the Opposition has been trying to foist upon the people of The Bahamas as representing a new future, has been discovered to have served as the resident representative of the same oil company before it opened its offices in New Providence.
I guess Mr. Jerome Gomez is as “fresh” a face as is his namesake, Jerome Fitzgerald, who sought to guide public contracts to BK Water, a company which he headed, with the assistance of the National Chair of the Opposition Party, Bradley Roberts. Mr. Fitzgerald is now a PLP Senator and the PLP candidate for the Marathon Constituency in the upcoming elections.
We can never be unmindful of the horrendous explosion at an ocean based oil drilling operation in the Gulf off the coast of Louisiana just two years ago. Certainly we do not have the resources, human or financial, or the capacity, to respond to such a disaster as did the United States Government in that instance. We know and understand that the damage that could be done to our marine life, to our sea bed and to our pristine beaches and rocky shoreline would be devastatingly huge with the potential, in one fell swoop, of causing untold damage to both our tourism industry including sports fishing and our fisheries.
Following the environmental disaster in the Gulf, my Government put in place a moratorium on the grant of permits and licences related to oil drilling. We explained at the time that until we are fully satisfied all necessary and appropriate regulations are in place and until we are fully and competently in a position to regulate such activity so as to protect our environment and that of the world’s ocean beyond from harmful and risky activity in our country and in our waters, no further permits or licences would be approved by the Government.
We are not now in a position to regulate and oversee oil drilling operations in our waters, hence, there will be no oil drilling in our waters under the FNM until we are in such a position. And it doesn’t matter who their consultants are.
My greatest obligation is to do what I think is the right thing to do at any given time to protect the best interests of you, the Bahamian people, and that of future generations. And so I will not take any deliberate action that may cause serious harm to our country regardless of the promised financial reward for a select few consultants and legal representatives. I never tire of saying that we in the FNM do not go that way. We accept that we are different, distinctly different from them. /I continue to hold up these hands throughout the country and say ‘these are clean hands,’
Putting Bahamians First is a duty I have sworn to uphold each time I placed my hand on the Bible and promised to abide by the constitution and protect the interests of Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
That other Party is good at framing glib slogans to try and catch people’s imaginations. They also have a long record of disappointing those who buy into their slogans. In this campaign they believe in Bahamians and promise to invest in Bahamians. Regrettably, they’re only slogans.
When given the opportunity to believe in Bahamians and to invest in Bahamian between 2002 and 2007 they chose otherwise. They cancelled the government subsidy of ½ interest payable on government guaranteed educational loans introduced by the FNM; they failed to build a single new school or library; they failed to construct a single new community health clinic; they did very little to upgrade water supply infrastructure in the Family Islands or in New Providence; they failed to dredge Nassau Harbour placing the all-important cruise ship industry in jeopardy; they failed to construct the new national Stadium notwithstanding the generous gift of the Chinese Government, and they failed to move the redevelopment of the LPIA forward – instead they simply renaming the airport.
The Bahamian people deserve more than empty PLP promises and slogans.
I know that many of you are concerned about the terrible impacts upon your small community resulting from the illegal transit traffic of drugs and illegal migrants but also of the gun-trafficking which typically occurs alongside the others. And, as the Game Fishing capital of The Bahamas you have a vested interest in securing the marine resources of our country.
Those of you who have had the opportunity to review Manifesto 2012 on line or more recently, in its printed form; will see that my Government has given and continues to give priority attention to beefing up our ability to confront these ills on all fronts.
The FNM’s decision to transform the Royal Bahamas Defence Force was done with great deliberation and plenty hard thinking. It will be the largest, boldest, and most wide-scale boost of the Force in its entire year history.
We undertook extensive studies on the organization and strength of the Defence Force. We appointed a group of eight former and serving Defence Force Commanders and Captains to advise on what was required in terms of vessels and manpower.
The Experts Committee provided advice on the correct number of vessels and the manpower levels required for the Force to adequately fulfill its mandate to patrol our waters and to enforce our laws with respect to fisheries, legal entry and trade.
Today’s Force strength is 1,164. We want to take it to 1,400 men and women. We have calculated that over the next five years approximately 40 marines may leave the Force for a variety of reasons. This will require that we recruit more than 235 additional personnel in order to achieve and maintain Force strength of 1,400 marine.
The FNM is a big tent party; we take in all who want better for The Bahamas. I say to all good thinking and loyal Biminites, come with me, and support my Party the FNM; we have and keep your interest at heart. That is why not a single public servant was disengaged as a result of the global economic downturn. That is why, notwithstanding the impact of the global economic recession upon our economy, we, the FNM Government, increased social service assistance, expanded NIB benefit programmes and engaged additional policemen, defence force marines, immigration and customs officers.
Those others are busy trying to deflect attention from their weak leader; trying desperately to convince the Bahamian population that this election is not about leadership. You know better.
Elections in difficult economic times demand that leadership be a principal issue. These are times for strong and decisive leadership; leadership that will make the tough choices. This is no time for wavering and waffling. This is no time for talk and more talk. This is a time for action.
I offer you on behalf of the proven leadership of the Free National Movement. I offer you accountable and transparent government. I offer you clean hands. I pledge again to you a Government that will deliver.
We believe that Bimini will benefit from The Heritage Tourism Initiative which will create jobs and boost your economy.
Bimini’s storied history as the site of the Fountain of Youth and as the popular rest and recreational spot for a wide variety of international personalities such as the American writer Ernest Hemingway, former President Richard Nixon, celebrated civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, US Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, … provide rich material for the creation of most interesting historical trail around Bimini – on land and at sea.
Under this initiative we will help to upgrade some of the infrastructure needed to enhance heritage sites and the heritage experience that residents and tourists are able to enjoy during such visits.
It is the FNM that will always look after the interest of the Family Islands.
That is why we introduced Local Government; expanded the electricity and telephone infrastructure, made access to cable TV possible, constructed modern community health clinics close to Family Island population centres, undertook large scale infrastructural upgrades around the country: roads, bridges, docks, ports, schools all receiving focused attention, many after long years of neglect by other administrations.
Since 2007 we improved electricity supply on this island, constructing a new power plant.
The FNM always places the highest priority on education – on expanding facilities, improving tuition materials, increasing the numbers of teachers and providing an unprecedented number of scholarships.
We have also acted to ensure that our teachers are properly equipped with tuition materials so that no child is disadvantaged in the classroom. The Government will pay 80 per cent of the health insurance premium for teachers in the Government operated school system; teachers will pay 20 per cent. This new benefit enters into effect with the new Budget on 1st. July of this year.
In our next term in office, we will build a new high school in Bimini. In our next term we will build additional COB dormitory space in New Providence to accommodate family island students and we will provide rental stipends to needs tested students who cannot be accommodated in the dormitories.
Those others lie when they tell you that they believe in young Bahamians. They believe only in helping themselves, their families and their friends.
In our next term we will also improve your airport, demolish that Customs warehouse on your dock, and demolish that government administrator’s house which is a blight to Bimini’s landscape.
In our next term also, we will construct a new Government Administrative Complex to house all government agencies so as to ensure that residents in Bimini are able to more easily access public services usually only available in Nassau. Both the Public Treasury and the Registrar General’s Office will have branches in Bimini making registering a birth or obtaining a copy of a birth certificate easier for you, right here in Bimini. We also want a programme to clean up Bimini and keep Bimini clean at all times.
We will also commence a programme to arrest the erosion along the north coast which has been eating away at your coastline.
In transforming our country we cannot go with the smallness of vision and the weakness of leadership of the PLP. Not only will they take the country backwards; they lack the vision and the quality of leadership needed to move The Bahamas forward.
But, this is not a fight any of us can go alone, we must band together. So tonight, sign up to be a volunteer, take a poster, tell your friends to go FNM and when you go to our website tonight, we’d be grateful if you would click the donate button and help us keep printing posters and making t-shirts and holding rallies.
I ask all voters to pick up their cards as soon as possible and have information corrected on it if this is necessary. We need 650 votes in Bimini – give me them, okay!
As we depart tonight FNMs, I ask you, come go with me and the FNM. Vote for Pakesia; make her your next MP. She will look after your interest and she will make you proud.
Bimini together, let us build a better Bahamas. Thank you, God bless The Bahamas, and good night.