Minnis blames PLP for current crime state
As he wrapped up debate in the House of Assembly thanking the governor general for the Speech from the Throne, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday charged that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) laid the foundation for crime in The Bahamas after it turned a blind eye to drugs and corruption and “got into bed with international drug traffickers”.
“The party that was charged with making this nation great perverted it,” Minnis said.
He also charged that the last five years under the PLP, “was the worst period of governance in the modern Bahamas”.
“The former government was reckless, wasteful and incompetent when it came to public finances,” he said.
“They were not stewards of good government.
“The previous five years was the worst period of governance in the modern Bahamas.
“This administration is reining in public expenditure in order to provide for long-term growth and economic stability.”
Minnis said the party of majority rule and independence, once a compelling voice against forces who denied the dignity of the majority of our people, “was seduced by the narcotic of unbridled power”.
PLP Interim Leader Philip Brave Davis did not stand to rebuke Minnis, though he was chided by several government MPs to do so.
At one point, Minnis told Davis that he was willing to yield the floor if he had a point of order, but Davis did not stand.
Minnis continued to attack the PLP, accusing the party of making deals to get rich.
“They forgot that they ruled on behalf of the people,” he said.
“Deals were made to make PLPs rich.
“Policy was advanced to ensure PLP influence crept into every sector of our economy and society.
“Some of them got in bed with international drug traffickers who were allowed to set up shop on our islands shipping untold millions of dollars’ worth of poison to North America.
“Some of the poison stayed here bringing ruin to many young and promising Bahamians.
“Some PLPs got extremely rich in this illicit trade.
“The PLP at the highest levels turned a blind eye to this cauldron of drugs and corruption, and its devastating effect on our children, on our values and on our good name as a country.”
The Bahamas was faced with a rampant culture of drug use and drug smuggling in the 1970s and 1980s.
In 1983, the government, led by the late Sir Lynden Pindling, established a Commission of Inquiry into the drug trade. The commission found that Sir Lynden had more than $3 million in his bank accounts than his official income.
However, most commission members found that his wealth could not be directly or indirectly traced to the drug trade.
Minnis said “this is a new day”.
“My government will prosecute the corrupt,” he said.
“We will make the privileged ones pay their bills just as ordinary Bahamians must pay their bills.
“We will vigorously fight crime and its causes through policing; by working for judicial reform with the courts; and through innovative social intervention programs such as targeted programs for youth development.”
As for crime, Minnis said the PLP “tolerated all manner of corruption for decades, including massive corruption in their last term”.
“They put up signs in at roundabouts complaining about the murder rate during the 2012 general election,” he said.
“One of them was the leader of the opposition, who was pictured in a photo in one of the daily newspapers smiling as he helped to hold up one of the signs.
“He said at the time that this was in the interest of getting the truth out.
“Yet, the murder rate climbed on their watch.
“But in the so-called interest of getting the truth out the PLP did not put up signs on the murder rate after they were elected.
“Some in the PLP are more interested in crime as a political issue, than as a serious national security concern.”
The PLP erected billboards in the led up to the 2012 general elections, which displayed the number of murders recorded in The Bahamas under the then Free National Movement administration.