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Roberts: FNM chairman’s remarks proof FNM is out of touch

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts said in a statement yesterday that remarks made by Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Carl Bethel that “voter dissatisfaction will fade as the election nears” was insulting and proof that the FNM is out of touch with the pulse of the Bahamian people.

“It is interesting to note that Mr. Bethel’s basis for his remarks is the disastrous New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP) that has been unacceptably delayed and significantly over budget. Further, this poorly executed project caused the closure of many businesses, numerous job losses and immeasurable frustration and inconvenience to the motoring public,” said Roberts, who was minister of works in the Christie administration.

On Wednesday, Bethel told The Nassau Guardian, “I’m getting a sense of hope from voters. Whatever the frustrations of the past year have been, people are now seeing the benefits of the government investing in the future.”

He acknowledged that many voters are upset with the government, particularly over the delays and traffic congestion caused by the New Providence Road Improvement Project.

“Yes, okay we are frustrated about the road works, but now with the roads in the condition where they have been open, people are getting a real sense of the possible benefit of the disruption,” Bethel said.

But Roberts said in his statement: “This botched road works project however is just one of the many issues that have negatively impacted the lives of Bahamians. Topping the list is the unprecedented level of crime, the fear of crime and the misery index that is off the charts due to the shamefully high unemployment rate.”

Roberts said, “With regard to unemployment, more than 40,000 Bahamians are now without work and without any prospects in the foreseeable future due to the FNM’s mismanagement and failed policies — especially their refusal to put Bahamians first.

“While governments around the world lowered taxes to save businesses and jobs, this FNM government imposed huge tax increases on the backs of working Bahamians that made life unbearable for many Bahamian families.

“This FNM government has abandoned Grand Bahama, their so-called ‘FNM country’ which continues to die daily and is a ghost of its former self. Their elected representatives are reportedly refusing to face their constituents and are literally fleeing.”

Roberts added that thousands of Bahamians are without electricity supply, and he pointed to high electricity costs.

“This is the situation after tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars were spent on new generation plants, plant maintenance and after repeated assurances were given by government ministers and the chairman of BEC (the Bahamas Electricity Corporation) that this problem would be resolved.

“These blackouts have needlessly disrupted businesses, adversely impacted the lives of many and still the government is not forthcoming with a sensible explanation for why this national vexation continues.

“So everything [Prime Minister] Hubert Ingraham has touched has turned to powder and Bahamians are significantly worse off today than they were five years ago.”

Roberts said Bethel should “take his head out of the sand” and realize that these are but some of the salient and burning issues facing Bahamians today – not only the road works – that are the causes of voter dissatisfaction with the FNM and the reason the Bahamian people will vote the FNM government out of office at the earliest opportunity.”

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