Foulkes says PLP reviving the practice of victimization
Freeport News Reporter
Former Minister of Labor and Social Development Dion Foulkes took aim at the Progressive Party (PLP) Government and Prime Minister Perry Christie yesterday claiming that the new government seems intent on reviving the practice of victimization common in the "Pindling-era."
"The new Christie-led Government is terminating employment contracts without cause, discontinuing job-creation programs and stopping and cancelling small public works contracts for required works being competently carried out by Bahamian companies especially in the Family Islands all with a view to dispensing favors to the PLP faithful," Foulkes said in a press release.
He noted that despite past comments from Christie where he stated that he abhorred victimization, what has happened since the election has pointed to a revival of victimization.
Foulkes said any assertions that the Free National Movement (FNM) ever engaged in victimization are unsubstantiated and cannot be proven, adding that former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, made it a hallmark of his administration to serve for the betterment of all Bahamians.
"The FNM has always been and remains inextricably bound to principles of good governance, accountability, transparency and fair playing government.
"The FNM has always loathed victimization and finds its practice abhorrent," he said.
Foulkes said victimization was standard practice in the Pindling-led PLP that issued favors to supporters and punished opponents.
He noted that it was an Ingraham led FNM Government who, where possible and practicable, removed the influence of politicians from applications to the government for any service, permit or franchise, along with removing other barriers to fairness.
"Further, by policy, sitting Members of Parliament were not appointed to Chair any major public corporations. Local Government was introduced in the Family Islands, with delegated authority to award business licences," Foulkes said.
"The terrible family separations forced on countless Bahamian citizens was brought to an end when the first Ingraham Government commenced a sustained, organized effort to regularize all persons with legitimate claims to Bahamian immigration status, under the Constitution and in conformity with our nationality law.
"Because of Hubert Ingraham and the FNM, all communications in The Bahamas are today regulated by URCA, an independent agency.
"Anyone meeting the standards and criteria of URCA may be granted a license to operate radio or television stations regardless of political affiliation.
"Indeed, politicians and political affiliations have nothing to do with the application process."
Foulkes said it should not be forgotten that the FNM was forced to broadcast its 1992 general election campaign message from Florida because a PLP-led government would not allow the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas to cover the campaign.
He noted that because of the FNM, students meeting established criteria can attend The College of The Bahamas for free and receive scholarships and grants without reference to their political affiliation.
Foulkes said job creation initiatives were open to persons of all political persuasions under the FNM and employees of those initiatives could wear their political paraphernalia without fear of repercussions.
"Sadly, since the general election the reverse is not true. Some of the terrible victimizing traits from the Pindling-era of the PLP were reintroduced during the first Christie-led PLP Government when political favoritism once again became fashionable, indeed prolific. Now, Mr. Christie has returned to office seemingly more determined than ever to govern for the benefit of PLPs and PLPs alone," he said.
© 2012 The Freeport News