January 30, 2017
Marathon MP Jerome Fitzgerald does not expect the Rubis controversy that attracted negative publicity for him in 2015 to hurt his chances of re-election this year.
The government took more than a year to make public a 2014 Black & Veatch report on a gas leak from the Rubis service station on Robinson Road that warned of possible health risks to people who live and work in the area.
The report was completed in February 2014, but was only made public on April 17, 2015 after area residents expressed outrage at a town meeting.
"I think the people of Marathon are intelligent. They understand the issues," Fitzgerald said.
"I've been as clear and transparent about my position as I can be.
"The impact and the families that it touched and the houses that it touched, it was around five or six houses. I mean, it was no more than that.
"I have met with those houses, and the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Health acted very quickly to address those issues, and for the most part, outside of that, I think that's why it really hasn't gotten any traction within the area.
"Apart from those who may be detractors, or those who may support the opposition or the FNM... I don't feel any real repercussion when I go door to door.
"...The Rubis issue is really to me more of an issue to the press and detractors."
Fitzgerald has said he has no regrets over the government's handling of the matter.
Following the revelation that Fitzgerald had read the report in 2014, but kept silent, Fitzgerald was asked by The Nassau Guardian in April 2015 why he did not advise his constituents.
He responded, "I would have been fired on the spot. There is no way I can discuss what happens in Cabinet, particularly if a direction was taken and the direction was for it to rest with the attorney general's office."
He told The Nassau Guardian on Thursday that he plans to continue to build on what he has done over the past five years in the community, pointing to his computer and etiquette classes, his breakfast program and his cleanup campaign.
He said that, through his efforts, nearly 200 jobs have been provided to constituents.
"Jobs has been a great issue in empowerment," Fitzgerald said.
"We have been able to get quite a number of jobs.
"I would say well over 100, maybe as many as 200 jobs in the area, in the private and public sectors, because we have a big bank of everyone's application, so we pull from them, depending on what jobs we see once available.
"So I tell people for the most part, we really feel in our office, we are working as an employment agency.
"There are a lot of people who are looking for employment and we have been able to help them do that.
"[We] also run them through the National Training Agency, where we have sent a lot of people.
"[We have] also encouraged a lot of, particularly single women and the young people, to go to BTVI (Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute), and we have been able to help to facilitate a lot of that, which has really helped to empower them, and I want to be able to continue to do that."
Prime Minister Perry Christie recently declared his administration has created 32,000 jobs this term.
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News date : 01/30/2017 Category : Nassau Guardian Stories