Sen. Zhivargo Laing responds to Govt. not extending 52-week program
The Government's response to my appeal to extend the 52-week employment program for thousands of struggling Bahamians is that they cannot do it because they don't have the money since we, the FNM, left the country financially strapped. That is simply untrue because whatever the Christie administration wanted to provide for in the 2012/2013 budget, it did so. It put in the budget:
* Millions of dollars to pay for their bloated cabinet;
* Millions of dollars to push down trees and houses in the name of Urban Renewal;
* Millions of dollars to hire scores of consultants;
* $15 million in the Prime Minister's budget to fund an unspecific plan;
* Millions of dollars to fund a referendum on Gambling;
* Hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for minister's travel; and millions more tucked away in a budget that will produce a deficit of some $550 million.
Additionally, it gave away millions of dollars so that the super-rich people could have their real property taxes capped at $50,000.
If the Government can afford to make provision in the budget to do these things for themselves but it can afford to make provision in the budget for the people now faced with the prospect of no income and no jobs. IT'S A MATTER OF CHOICE!
Condemn me, blame me, even lambaste me; this much remains true, there are thousands upon thousands unemployed in the nation, made so primarily by the global economic recession. There are hundreds and hundreds who came into the job market since June of this year. Now added to those many thousands will be these persons coming off the 52-week program. We, the Ingraham administration, felt compelled to do something about such joblessness when we were in office, so we created the 52-week program. We provided $25 million in the first instance to do so. The demand was so great, we determined to reorder budgetary priorities, take the fiscal hit and increase the provisions by almost the same amount. The money went into the pockets of struggling Bahamians, many of whom supported the Progressive Liberal Party before and during the elections. Now, they are going home with no hope of immediate employment. That is the real issue and that should be the concern of the Government. So far, the response has been, TO HELL WITH THEM, LAING THEM LEFT US BROKE EVEN THOUGH WE FOUND MONEY TO DO ALL KINDS OF THINGS FOR OURSELVES! As they say often, "Carry on smartly folks"
Senator Zhivargo Laing
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