McCartney Bring the Magic Back Grand Bahama Speech
30 March 2012
Hon. Branville McCartney, M.P.
Good evening Grand Bahamians
Good evening Bahamas!
Ladies and gentlemen, things are not good in Grand Bahama. Things have not been good in Grand Bahama for some time. The Magic of Grand Bahama is gone!
But I am hear tonight to tell you Grand Bahama that all is not lost!!! You may be oppressed, but you are not hopeless. You may be unemployed, but you remain resilient.
Grand Bahama is in despair, but I am here to tell you tonight that it is time to get you back on track. For 10 years you’ve been neglected. Neglected by the PLP and that’s why you voted them out in grand style in 2007…don’t forget that!!!! And now you’ve been neglected by the FNM and no doubt you’ll vote them out in the next few weeks.
You can’t go BACK BACK to the PLP and you know you can’t trust the FNM. Ain no proven leadership there. Just look around. And they say that they deliver. Deliver what…not in Grand Bahama. Deliver my foot!!!! If things were good you would be living it now!!! Do not give the PLP nor the FNM the opportunity to put you on the back burner again. You know…that is what they will do after the election!!!!! They did before and they will do it again!!! Your children and their children’s future depends on it. Do not repeat the same mistake again!!!!
FOOL ME ONCE… SHAME ON YOU!!!! FOOL ME TWICE…SHAME ON ME!!!!!!!
The last thing Grand Bahama needs is another slate of empty promises. Bahamians want solutions. Grand Bahamians don’t need another rally, another rent-a-rally… Rallys do not turn your turn your lights back on. The political rhetoric won’t pay your school fees, put food on the table and keep you employed. Hubert Christie and Perry Ingraham are all out of ideas. They are visionless and like a ship with no rudder—THEY’RE GOING NO WHERE FAST!!! You don’t think it is time for them to retire. They have been in the political arena since 1977. But, I say to you tonight to steer your ship toward the lighthouse. Be the captain of your ship, the master of your fate. Don’t let Christie Ingraham and Co run you aground. Tell them without any hesitation that their political partnership is at an end!!!!! We will take down that shingle once and for all.
I know that the people of this island are taking Grand Bahama back and there’s nothing those partners can do to stop this movement. Grand Bahamians are immune to the back-peddling, see-saw negotiations with the Port Authority. Grand Bahamians are tired—sick and tired—of loosing jobs to foreigners. Grand Bahamians can no longer tolerate short-sighted plans to make Grand Bahama a tourist destination only, rather than a robust manufacturing, technological, 21st Century machine that will attract investors and transform this island into a mega export capitol of this region.
The fact of the matter is, Hubert Christie and Perry Ingraham has NO PLAN and NO VISION! You can bring as much people from Nassau as you like to the Rallys, but Grand Bahamians know that partying at a Rally will not help the despair in Grand Bahama. Grand Bahamians know better than most the political games by now, but guess what? GUESS WHAT! TIME UP!!! GAME OVER! LOG OFF! YOUR ACCESS IS DENIED!
Grand Bahama: Just 10 years ago you had a robust economy. Things were good. Some of you had two and three jobs. Things were so good that many of you refused to take on additional work. Your economy was booming. The outlook was positive and the future was bright. Now just 10 years later, the economy of Grand Bahama has made a complete U-turn for the worse. Some of this can be attributed to the global economic recession in 2008 and the two major hurricanes in 2004, but the significant contributors to your ailing economy have been the failed policies of the PLP and the FNM under the leadership of Hubert Christie and Perry Ingraham. WE HAVE NO TIME FOR VISIONLESS LEADERS!!
In a December 1st, 2005 article that read “Grand Bahama has collapsed,” the Bahama Journal reported that in 2004 the unemployment rate jumped from 9.3% to 11%. Back then even before the closure of the Royal Oasis Resort, the economy of Grand Bahama was on a steady decline. The article gave vivid details to the fact that thousands of Grand Bahamians were applying for only a few available jobs.
You see Grand Bahamians; the economy of Grand Bahama did not just start to decline in 2007. The decline of this economy has progressively worsened over the last 10 years and both the PLP and the FNM have only given you promise after promise on what they will do. But what have they done that has benefitted you lately? Absolutely nothing!!!
The unemployment rate just eight years later, which now stands at 21.2 %, has more than doubled and successive governments have not implemented any effective solutions to protect your jobs.
Grand Bahama, it is time to get you back on track. It is time to Vote DNA.
You know if you do the same thing over and over and over again and expect a different result, Einstein calls that insanity!!!! Grand Bahama you are not insane!!!! Vote DNA!!!!!
Listen to this foolishness. The PLP says that a vote for the DNA is a vote for the FNM. The FNM says that a vote for the DNA is a vote for the PLP. But I tell you tonight that a vote for the DNA is a vote for you and your future!!!!!
In the DNA, we recognize that it is not enough if you can produce oranges, but can not manufacture and package orange juice. It is not enough that we can mine sea salt that is not on every restaurant table throughout our country and this region. In other words, your DNA government wants to capitalize on the manufactory and assembly potential of Grand Bahama, making it the mecca manufacturer of the Caribbean. Imagine…”MADE IN THE BAHAMAS”. You know…just because something has not been done before does not mean that it cannot happen. I say to you tonight that the DNA has hope for Grand Bahama. We see better days ahead. We will bring the Magic back to Grand Bahama!!!!
In our first 180 Days in office, the DNA will:
• To initiate dialogue with the Hutchinson group to reduce landing fees that will allow more commercial airlines to and from the island.
• make the agreements with the Port Authority current and relevant for today and work with the GBPA so that Grand Bahamians are the beneficiaries of the relationship.
• Agitate for a state-owned dock and cruise port in the Hepburn Town area of Eight Mile Rock to allow businesses easy access to trade and commerce.
• Lower energy commercial costs for Grand Bahamian businesses.
The DNA is committed to delivering real change, real solutions and real innovation to Grand Bahamians.
Zhivargo Laing, the State Minister in the Ministry of Finance said that the increase in unemployment figures can be attributed to the recent high school graduates. Is he serious? I hope he ain dead serious. Do they expect us to believe that an almost 40% hike in unemployment is attributed to a few hundred high school graduates leaving high school. Grand Bahama’s economy is certainly more complex than that and it is clear that the Minister of State for Finance and the FNM are clueless as to understanding the dynamics of your economy.
The PLP said that they created 22,000 jobs during its last term in office. In fact, they have been bragging about this all over the airwaves. But during this period, how much of these jobs were created in Grand Bahama? During the PLP’s last tenure under Perry Christie, you have endured economic suffering. I challenge Perry Christie to prove these 22000 jobs!!! Where are they??? He talking fool!!! That’s at lest 3 Atlantises!!! Show me the jobs Christie!!!! What an imagination!!!
Freeport used to be called the “Magic City.” I assert tonight that under the PLP and the FNM, the magic has vanished. Under the PLP and the FNM, the magic has been buried and given away. We need the Magic City to come back. We need the Magic City restored so that the dignity and pride that Grand Bahamians once boasted of can be returned. We need the magic back that will allow Grand Bahamians to be able to travel at their leisure, to pay their mortgages, to pay their light, water and phone bills and to be able to eat a decent meal daily. We need to get persons from sleeping on the beaches because they have no where to go. My God!! I pledge tonight that the DNA will restore the magic back to Grand Bahama. We will work hand in hand with the Grand Bahama Port Authority to ensure that the current Hawksbill Creek agreement is revised and modernized to suit the current state of affairs in Grand Bahama. The people of Grand Bahama must come first!!!!!! We will not allow personality conflicts and negative statements about potential investors to stifle progress in Grand Bahama anymore.
Hubert Ingraham allowed his personality clashes with Sir Jack Hayward to cause Grand Bahama to sink deeper and deeper into economic turmoil. Our leaders shouldn’t be concerned about who likes them or who don’t agree with them. They should above all be working towards the betterment of the Bahamian people. But Hubert Ingraham didn’t do that. He put his personal feelings before the people of Grand Bahamians and my God, look at what he has done to you. Look at what he has done to you Grand Bahama. Look at the pain and suffering you are enduring. You don’t deserve that. I wouldn’t treat my worst enemy, the way that Hubert Ingraham has treated you. And He ain’t your papa. Papas don’t treat their children that way. They care for and nurture their children. Check your DNA. It is time to Go Green. AND VOTE DNA!!!
Sir Jack Hayward said the dying Grand Bahama economy is to be put squarely at the feet of the Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham. He said that the government has been dragging its feet and has shown very little interest in assisting Grand Bahama. We believe that Perry Christie should also share some of this responsibility.
The DNA’s plan for Grand Bahama is comprehensive and when elected to office, we will immediately start to implement policies that will start to get Grand Bahama back on track. We will:
• Create a new Government Ministry for Grand Bahama with a cabinet Minister at the helm to deal with all matters pertaining to Grand Bahama and the Grand Bahama Port Authority.
• Facilitate greater collaboration between the Government, the Port Authority and the Bahamian people to promote a dialogue for the development of business initiatives in Freeport for the benefit of all Bahamians.
• Ensure the timely coordination and resourcing of foreign investment to expand the industrial base that Grand Bahama has come to rely on and as a mechanism for accelerating employment.
• Strengthen Grand Bahamas tourism product including West and East Grand Bahama.
• Better promote Grand Bahama as a tourist destination with a viable plan for a resort hotel and a thriving second home market in so doing creating a thriving city.
• Reopen West End Airport to facilitate tourism and commerce.
• Create a cultural centre where residents can take advantage of the many entrepreneurial opportunities that will abound through tourist activities and spin-off products.
• Reestablish a movie and related business industry (film/sound editing/production and distribution warehouses, etc.)
• Commit to reducing the cost of energy through the introduction of renewable energy sources and the exploration of other innovative means to make the cost of energy more affordable for Grand Bahamians and more attractive to investors.
• Create an Energy Island (at Kings Cove), which will encompass all forms of renewal energy to coincide with the already known ‘industrial capital of The Bahamas’ where many incentives are already in place.
• Create an industrial park/manufacturing environment (for wind turbines, solar panels, etc.) where international business is transacted and unskilled Bahamians can be trained while earning attractive wages.
• Develop a closer relationship between the Port Authority and The Government to ensure better synergy of programs, policies and procedures to drive economic and social development for Freeport. Ensure that the Hawksbill agreement is relevant to the challenges of the Port Authority and the Freeport Community.
• Extend tax concessions presently enjoyed by licensees of the Port to the larger community of Grand Bahama to support local entrepreneurship.
• Establish state of the art facilities in East-Grand Bahama to accommodate education and research (as the College of The Bahamas already exists in this area) with particular focus on medicine, marine biology and technology.
Grand Bahamians: It is time to bring the Magic back.
You know, when I come to Grand Bahama and today as I drove along the highways I noticed a trend—all along the streets there were closed businesses and boarded-up windows of homes and storefronts.
Under the collective governance of the PLP and the FNM you have had record business closures. You have had record unemployment. There is no hope in sight for you Grand Bahama under the PLP or the FNM. They have proven to you already that they don’t possess the necessary skill set to turn your economy around. They are very pleased with their lackluster efforts and can be heard daily bragging about who did the least and who caused more harm to your economy. I say that on election day you tell Perry Ingraham and Hubert Christie ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and VOTE THEM OUT!!!!
To further jump-start the economy of Grand Bahama, the DNA will move to bring incentive legislation that would allow business entities throughout Grand Bahama, for a period of time, to enjoy the same concessions that are presently granted to licensees of the Port. That would mean that the bone fishing lodge owner in Pelican Point would more easily be able to afford the tools and equipment necessary to guarantee a world-class experience for his client, both foreign and domestic. This would also mean that commercial tour operators would no longer be solely restricted to the port area, but now will be able to bring large numbers of visitors straight into West End - the cultural heart of Grand Bahama - in their bonded vehicles.
Further, under a DNA-government, small business owners will get special preference for government contracts. You see, we want to empower people by removing the roadblocks that can revitalize this island.
Now, I want you to listen very carefully.
Several days ago, the Prime Minister abruptly suspended the House of Assembly until May 22nd, 2012. No warning to the PLP, myself or even his colleagues. Now isn’t this a shame? The retiring MPs like Kenneth Russell, Verna Grant, Kendal Wright, Larry Cartwright ,Earl Deaveaux ,others such as Oswald Ingraham and Alfred Sears have been deprived forever of bidding farewell to their constituents and their colleagues. The Speaker himself, Alvin Smith, was not given an opportunity to speak!!!! Kenneth Russell calls it a “shocking and nasty move” and says that Ingraham disrespected the members who are leaving the House. Although I feel for all of these members who were denied this opportunity, I am particularly sadden for Cynthia Mother Pratt. I felt her pain when she interviewed with the media after this tragedy. She is a good woman. I respect her highly and I am sorry this had to happen in this manner. I admire her as a politician and as a leader in this country!!!!
Vincent Peet, according to the Prime Minister, last appearance in the House of Assembly was on November 30th 2011. This means that March 1st 2012 is exactly 90 days since he has not been in the House of Assembly. Now, unless Peet had special leave to not be in the House during that period of time, his seat is now considered vacant as of March 1st and therefore, by virtue of Article 67 of the Constitution, a by-election will have to be called within 60 days from March 1st, which is on or before May 1st. You know it is our understanding that the Prime Minister wanted to extend the time for the election to August, but I think he is now constitutionally bound because of Peet’s vacancy to call a by- election, which he probably will not do, and thus the general election will probably be before the 1st May!!!! Therefore if Ingraham do not want to ring the bell the Bahamas will ring the constitutional bell!!! RING!!!! RING!!! We predict that Elections will be on or before the 1st May 2012!!!!! Or the PM is constitutionally bound to have a by-election!
People…this government said it has done all it can to help Grand Bahama. Now listen to what they said. The government said it has done all it can do to assist you Grand Bahama. If you hired a contractor to build your roof and before the job was completed, he told you that he could not finish the job, what would you do? If he told you that he had done all he could to fix that leak, but the roof was still leaking, what would you do?
Since the PM like firing people, I have a good feeling that Grand Bahamians are about to fire him!!!!
Grand Bahama, tonight, I say fire the FNM, because they have already told you that they can do no more for you. They are so sure of their failure and inability to lead, that they cut Zhivargo Laing right out of these elections by shipping him off to Nassau, because Grand Bahama was ready to put the worst beating on him that he would have received all his life. Now Mark Humes, our candidate for Fort Charlotte, will retire Mr. Laing!!!!! BYE BYE!!!
Grand Bahama, I say to you tonight. Please do not make any more bad hires by voting for the PLP. They have already shown you what they will do. When the Royal Oasis closed down, they did nothing to assist you, but talked. I say vote DNA.
Vote for real change and vote for the party that will ensure that you have a robust economy. Vote for the party that will ensure that you can earn a living to take care of your family. Vote for the Party that will invest dollars into your sons and daughters’ education.
These two partners…Christie Ingraham and Co have the audacity to call Grand Bahama “FNM country” or “PLP Country.” I would be ashamed to call a place… my country when I have neglected it over and over and over again. But, we all know that Ingraham has no shame and Christie has to agree with his friend. The FNM is trying to mislead you into a false sense of security. Look at what they are doing for you now. They have abandoned you and left you to fend for yourselves. I say tonight that Grand Bahama is no longer FNM country. Grand Bahama is not PLP Country. Grand Bahama is ready for change. Change will come...not next time but this time. It is the URGENCY OF NOW!!!!!
Grand Bahamians you know your issues. You are living with the failed policies of the FNM and the PLP daily. Job losses at City Markets, Hutchinson Whompoa, the reduced flights from Bahamas Air and the personal conflict that Hubert Ingraham has with Sir Jack Hayward shows that the FNM has failed you. The DNA will be that vehicle that brings back hope to Grand Bahama. The DNA will create a Ministry of Grand Bahama that will be totally focused on all efforts to ensure that you get what you deserve… a thriving economy and a chance to achieve the Bahamian dream.
STAND with the DNA Grand Bahama. Stand to make history!!! Stand for your future. Stand Grand Bahama…STAND for your children and their children and their children also!!! Join with us to bring Grand Bahama back!!!We will not let you down Grand Bahama as the PLP and FNM has done. I promise you that. We have five well qualified candidates in Tolonus Sands, Osman Johnson, Roger Rolle, Howard Grant Jr. and Ferline Bridgewater Thomas. They are the team that will bring much needed relief to you Grand Bahama.
We are at a pivotal point in our history and this is no time to be playing around. This is no time to be betting on leaders who have failed you in the past. I am…I am Branville McCartney and I pledge to you as your humble servant that Grand Bahama will see progress and positive growth AGAIN… under the DNA!!!!
I say give the DNA candidates before you tonight your vote!!!! Give me your vote!!!!!! Give the DNA your vote!!!!! It’s time Grand Bahama to bring the magic back. Bring the Magic back!!!! Vote for the DNA.
Good night and God Bless you.