Ministers tout successes two years in
Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar, Immigration Minister Brent Symonette and National Security Minister Marvin Dames are giving the Minnis administration top marks two years after taking over the government.
D’Aguilar said the Free National Movement (FNM) is a better manager of the country than the opposition.
“I think the FNM government, the Minnis administration is doing…an exceptional job,” D’Aguilar told reporters Sunday following the Free National Movement’s second anniversary of their May 10, 2017 election victory.
“Especially in my portfolio, tourism is doing exceptionally well. [In] 2018, [there were] historic arrivals. [In] 2019, visitor arrivals are still up double digits.
“But I think the most important thing that the Minnis administration has done is brought a sense of order, a sense of discipline, a sense of fiscal responsibility [and] a sense of transparency.
“We’re just better managers of the country.
“Gone are the days of the rife and rampant corruption. Gone are the days of the downgrades. I just think that we as a government are doing a heck of a job better than they ever did and I think it’s being reflected in all areas.
“We don’t make everybody happy, no government ever does. But there have been no reports of mismanagement, no reports of backroom deals.
“I just think [we] are far better stewards of our economy. FNMs run the country far better than the PLPs (Progressive Liberal Party). They’re in it for themselves and they run it into the ground.”
In March, it was revealed that 6.6 million tourists visited the country in 2018, an increase of 7.9 percent compared to the 6.1 million visitors in 2017.
Total visitor arrivals for the first two months of this year increased by 23.7 percent, significantly more than the 15 percent projected by D’Aguilar.
Symonette said he would rate the government’s performance thus far an “A-plus”.
“There’s been quite a number of successes,” Symonette said.
“As we’ve talked about we’ve avoided several downgrades. We’re working towards three years of a balanced budget. We’ve seen crime doing fairly well. We’ve seen direct foreign investment.
“So, all around it’s been very positive. There have been some challenges but the next two years will be very successful.”
Dames highlighted growth from various ministries while noting that his ministry has seen a reduction in crime.
“I think we are well positioned,” Dames said.
“We’re at that place now where the economy is churning, it’s doing extremely well. We had a growth of over two percent last year and we’re on a road for about 2.1 percent this year.
“Our deficit is down some $130 million. We have during the third quarter, some 40 percent surplus. We were able to pay $110 million down on some old bills that were left behind by the PLP.
“And what is also interesting to me is that the business licensing, that is up some 35 percent. So, that is a clear reflection that things are moving in the right direction. As you know, our tourism numbers are up and we’re experiencing double-digit growth on just about every Family Island and stayover visitors have continued to climb.
“…This year, as you know, under my portfolio crime continues to trend downward.”
Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson revealed during his annual press conference that there was an eight percent decrease in crime in 2018 compared to 2017.
In 2018 there were 91 murders compared to 122 in 2017.
This year, that trend continues.
Murders were down 26 percent for the first four months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.
Dames said that he also gives Minnis credit for holding community meetings on various Family Islands.
He said that they have continued to focus on inclusion as opposed to being Nassau-centric.
He added that although they have met many of their goals, they still have a ways to go from here.
Education: Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) 3rd Year