PM reveals new manifesto promises
The Ingraham administration would introduce catastrophic health insurance, extend unemployment benefits and construct new wings at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) if re-elected to office, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced last night.
Speaking at an event at the Wyndham Nassau Resort to formally introduce the Free National Movement’s (FNM) 38 candidates for the upcoming general election, Ingraham said these are some of the promises contained in the party’s 2012 Manifesto.
Ingraham said his government would construct a new maternal/child health wing and new emergency department at PMH; double National Insurance unemployment benefits from 13 to 26 weeks and expand the Prescription Drug Plan to cover all workers and their families.
He also revealed his government’s plans to create a youth volunteer corps.
The scheme would be geared towards youths aged 18 to 25 who would be recruited on a volunteer basis to work in homework centers, senior citizens homes, centers for the disabled and poor while earning money for college or to start a business.
The FNM administration would also move several government ministries from New Providence to Grand Bahama, including the ministries of Local Government and Maritime Affairs, Ingraham said.
He added that his government would create more policies to support job creation in the private sector.
Ingraham said the government would train more Bahamians so they can take on posts currently filled by foreigners, due to the void of trained Bahamians in certain areas.
The prime minister did not divulge new details on his administration’s plans for fighting crime. However, the government late last year brought a package of crime bills that are now in effect.
Ingraham said last night his government would enhance its focus on the root causes of crime with additional focus placed on creating more crime-prevention initiatives.
The FNM also plans to construct more seaside parks and recreational spaces and expand housing developments for low to middle income families, Ingraham said.
He also pledged to accelerate the grant of Crown lands to Bahamians, especially in the Family Islands, for the construction of primary residences and for new business or expansion of existing businesses.
Manifesto 2012 is the FNM’s blueprint for the next five years.
As he spoke to supporters who crowded the hotel’s ballroom, Ingraham warned voters not to give Perry Christie another chance to govern the country.
The prime minister said the Progressive Liberal Party, which he painted as a scandal-ridden party with a waffling leader at its helm, is desperate to get back “into the cookie jar”.
Ingraham said during its five years in office his party has been virtually free of embarrassments.
While Christie said last week Ingraham should beg forgiveness from the Bahamian people for what the PLP called neglect, the prime minister said last night that it is Christie who should beg forgiveness from the Bahamian people for what Ingraham called the PLP’s failures and empty promises during its five-year term.
“Over the past five years we have delivered clean and scandal-free government,” Ingraham said.
“Perry Christie cannot match this claim.
“The reason they keep cussing me and cussing the FNM is very simple. We are standing in the way of them raiding the cookie jar, selling-off Bahamian land, and wheeling and dealing.”
He also took a swipe at the newly formed third party, the Democratic National Alliance, headed by former FNM Cabinet Minister Branville McCartney.
“As for the other one-man party, I want to simply say this, in order to become prime minister, you need two things. First of all you got to be elected to the House of Assembly, and secondly you have to have a party that had the majority of seats in the House. Without those two things you can do what you like on TV every night, [there’s] nothing happening for you. You might as well go chill,” he said.
Ingraham said the team he presented last night, a mix of 17 new faces and 21 experienced politicians, is the best group to steer the country forward.