Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis on Friday night promised that the FNM would stimulate and support a restoration of Grand Bahama’s former glorious past.
He spoke with emphasis about the party’s approach to restoring Grand Bahama’s economy during his keynote address at the FNM’s Roll Out Rally at the old Bowling Alley complex, just off East Sunrise.
The man who hopes to replace Prime Minister Perry Christie at the helm of the country pledged that under an FNM Administration, Grand Bahama residents would see increased attention given both the private and public sectors.
According to Dr. Minnis, the FNM would encourage the establishment of a technical and scientific research hub in Grand Bahama, similar to what drives the renowned Silicon Valley in California, and better assist university students on the island.
“We will extend the courses offered at the northern campus of the University of the Bahamas (UB) so that students would not have to travel to Nassau to complete their degree,” he said.
Dr. Minnis also disclosed the FNM’s intent to concentrate on encouraging investors to take advantage of the duty free concessions for businesses located in East and West Grand Bahama. He indicated that the FNM’s focus for Grand Bahama would be heavily in favor of its residents.
“Grand Bahama will become that destination in the Bahamas of enjoyment once again. The enjoyment will be delivered by Bahamians with the talent, the creativity and the entrepreneurial drive that restores the magic,” he said.
He assured residents that the FNM would bring industry, economic growth and ultimately success to the island the same as before.
“Grand Bahama has all the advantages of becoming the industrial capital of the Bahamas, and we will take full advantage of these advantages for the benefit of Grand Bahamians and the entire Bahamas,” he said.
He gave the FNM credit for the resurgence of the industry sector in Grand Bahama. On behalf of the FNM, he laid claim the vibrant industry environment in Grand Bahama.
“Almost every major successful industry came under the FNM’s administration such as the Freeport Container Port, the Grand Bahama Shipyard, and Bahama Rock. The FNM differs from the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) because we seek international investors
“We don’t have the arrogance to sit home and believe that the world will come to us,” he said.
“Freeport can become world renowned for its shopping opportunities, which would make it an ideal destination,” said Dr. Minnis. He promised to find a solution to the high cost of traveling to Grand Bahama.
“Although Grand Bahama is closer to the United States than most of the competing destinations in this region, tourists still have financial challenges travelling here.
“Grand Bahama is much more expensive to travel to than to Nassau, Turks and Caicos, to Jamaica and many other places in the Caribbean and Mexico that are much farther away. This makes absolutely no sense. We are going to fix it,” he said.
He blamed unemployment on the PLP.
Dr. Minnis said Grand Bahama has suffered the most job losses under Prime Minister Perry Christie’s administration. He also highlighted failed projects linked to the PLP.
“The PLP’s failed investments in Grand Bahama include the Ginn Development in West End. That’s a ‘total’ failure.” After the loss of 1,400 jobs Mr. Christie failed to deliver on his promise to reopen the Royal Oasis.
He sought also to put the disappointing closures of the Treasure Bay Casino and the Memories Resort, at the PLP’s doorstep.
In his all-out attack on Christie, Dr. Minnis said the “PLP have spoken a great deal about what they have done for Grand Bahama, when they have not actually done much at all.”
“Imagine that, unemployment is still high, the people still suffering; and businesses and hotels still closed. There was the $100 million earmarked and little to no hurricane relief. Despite all that big talk, very little was actually done,” he said.
Dr. Minnis termed the Prime Minister’s speech at the recent Grand Bahama Business Outlook to “cotton candy.”
“His speeches are like cotton candy, big, beautiful, colorful, sweet but full of air and lacking substance,” he said.
“Cotton Candy Christie told you about a conference call that he had with some investors who supposedly promised that they are evaluating, considering and contemplating doing some comprehensive things in Grand Bahama. Mr. Prime Minister, your failures now speak so loudly no one is listening to anything you have to say.
“The West Grand Bahama School and hospital have yet to be built.
“If you promise a new hospital why would you spend millions of dollars on a cafeteria and a hallway in a completely different location? The PLP administration has been a complete failure.
“The PLP consistently, completely and utterly failed Grand Bahama,” he said.
Dr. Minnis was the final speaker at the rally that night. All five candidates, Pakesia Edgecombe, West Grand Bahama and Bimini; Michael Pintard, Marco City; Frederick McAlpine, Pineridge; Iram Lewis, Central Grand Bahama; and sitting MP for East Grand Bahama, Peter Turnquest spoke before him.
Travis Robinson, the 22-year-old candidate for the Bain and Grants Town Constituency in New Providence also addressed the crowd earlier. His topic was the importance of registering and voting.
Published Monday, March, 20, 2017