April 16, 2012
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama - When the rallies are over and the election has come and gone many Bahamians will still face a sad reality, said Leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Branville McCartney at his party's Grand Bahama Economic Summit on Saturday night at Grand Lucayan Resort.
The DNA leader said that after the election process many Grand Bahamians will have no homes to return to; some will go to homes without electricity; some will still have to try to find a job; some will have no food in their cupboards or on their tables; some will not be able to pay their children's school fees; and some will not have a car to drive or money to catch the bus. "Quite frankly, the government is the largest employer in the country primarily because our two main industries have not provided enough employment as manifested by the fact that even before the financial crisis we had a structural unemployment of 10.2 percent, which is higher than the current levels in the U.S. of 8.7 percent," said McCartney. "And they, the U.S., are crying about these rates, even though they are lower than what The Bahamas experienced prior to the financial crisis."
McCartney said the DNA believes that the job of the government is to provide an environment in which all Bahamians have the opportunity to be able to live the "Bahamian Dream", which is to have the chance to own their slice of the pie and not just be recipients of the economic crumbs that fall from the table of the foreign investor and the special interest group, who get all the government contracts and special favors. "An environment where Bahamians are the real owners of their economy and not one in which 85 percent of every tourist dollar leaves or never enters the country," said McCartney. He added that no economy can be self-sustaining when all of the capital is being "sucked out of it" every day to enrich people in other countries. Howard Grant, DNA candidate for Central Grand Bahama, stressed that the responsibility of a good government is to create an economic environment to facilitate employment and to create a business environment to facilitate entrepreneurship, innovation and local ownership.
"The cost of living, for residents on Grand Bahama, is the highest it has ever been. Mothers and fathers like yourselves are finding it increasingly difficult to provide the basic necessities for their families, and yet they want you to re-elect them," he said, hitting out at what he described as the failure of the current administration during its term. "During a time when so many Grand Bahamians are living in darkness, because they're unable to pay their power bills, they want you to re-elect them."
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