|This vote is about leadership - PM addresses mass rally at R.M. Bailey Park [video]|
|Friday, 04 May 2012 06:40|
First of all let me say what a brilliant day it was for The Bahamas with the Advanced Poll on Tuesday past. Thousands of Bahamians here and overseas, who may not have been able to vote, were able to exercise this right because of amendments to the voting laws.
Click HERE to view on YouTube if no video display above.
I am grateful that every major advance in deepening democracy in The Bahamas for many decades has been done by the FNM from freeing the airwaves to making it possible for Bahamian students overseas to vote. All of this speaks loud and clear about the FNM’s greater commitment to democracy.FNMs:
All of the Waves of Colour Red are merging into a Red Sea of massive support for the FNM from Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins and Long Cay to Exuma to Spanish Wells to Andros and Grand Bahama, and across our Family of Islands.
From Elizabeth and Yamacraw in the east to Bain Town and Grants Town to South Beach, Carmichael and Golden Isles, and to the west from Mt. Moriah to Ft. Charlotte and Killarney, FNMs are flying their flags, fired up and ready to go.
What is extraordinarily impressive and what is very heart-warming is the massive surge of young voters, young men and women who are with the FNM, the length and breadth of this country, and the length and breadth of New Providence from Nassau Village to Village Road and from Bamboo Town and Southern Shores to Marathon and Fox Hill.
Colour Red is on fire! To showcase this mighty torch to the world, I want us to once and for all claim Clifford Park during our mega Rally this Saturday. And on Sunday we will meet back at here at R.M. Bailey in prayer and for a gospel fest. On Saturday we will also have the mother of all rallies in Grand Bahama at our home at Sunrise.
I have travelled all across The Bahamas these past many days. The FNM tide in the Family Islands is unstoppable. And our Wave of support in Grand Bahama and New Providence is, in the minds of the PLP: Unthinkable and Incredible.
Tonight, let me again be very clear. We are to conduct ourselves with the highest standards. There is to be no violence whatsoever. In the spirit of that British saying: “Stay Calm & Carry On!”
Fret not thyself. Victory is in sight. But, victory will only be won if we remain focused and refused to be distracted by half-truth, untruths and outright lies. Christie might keep quiet on foolishness in that other party. But you know I don’t tolerate foolishness like that.
Young Men & Women:
Throughout this campaign our opponents have ducked the critical issue of leadership, just like they ducked five years of governance from 2002 to 2007. It still amazes me as I travel the islands that Christie’s poster is hardly to be seen. Then when he does show up in the Family Islands he’s following me around.
By the way you see how another one of their events was buss-up. When Christie landed in Andros just the other day, there was hardly anyone there to see him. You think Andros trying to tell him something? Bannister and Bosfield are headed to the House of Assembly from Da Big Yard.
Why should Bahamians vote for the PLP if they don’t even have confidence in their own leader? Do you think they’ll try to hide him for five years on the remote chance of their getting back in?
Every child from the time of school knows something those others are terrified to admit. It is the simple reality that important things don’t get done without leadership.
The clear case of this is the disaster of the PLP platform which only made an appearance half way through the election. If they couldn’t get a document out on time, do you really believe they can accomplish that so-called 100-day agenda they say they have? Not a day like it. Or in this case, not 100 days like it.
What is worse their platform shamelessly borrowed from our Manifesto. Sadly they didn’t even copy well.
Their Book of Dreams as I call it is like those counterfeit movies where the sound and the picture are smudgy. It makes little sense; everything is jumbled up.
Leadership is critical to every aspect of society, be it in the family, school, church or government. Leadership makes all the difference as to whether an institution or a country succeeds or fails, indeed, often whether they succeed or fail spectacularly.
Leadership requires courage. Very often, leadership means making difficult choices, sometimes unpopular choices. If you need to be liked or loved by everyone or need everyone to be happy with every decision you make, then you cannot be an effective leader.
It is easy to lead when times are good. In good times, the demands are fewer and the conditions are more pleasant. It is in bad times when a leader’s metal is really tested.
In my tenure as Prime Minister, I have led in good and bad times. In each circumstance I have been guided the fact that I need always to have clarity of mind, singleness of purpose and strength of character. A leader must always keep a steady head.
Leadership requires smart and hard work. A lazy person cannot be an effective leader. Effective leaders almost always must be to work well before everyone else and leave long after everyone else.
Leadership requires putting in lots of hours thinking, planning, organizing and implementing programmes and projects. You must have a solid work ethic to successfully do all these things. This can mean long hours away from your loved ones or friends. It might mean giving up some of the things you personally enjoy doing.
You must perform your duty as a leader with the appreciation that you must be accountable for your actions in the current circumstance and in the face of history. Leadership means keeping your hands clean from corruption and conflicts of interest.
And, most importantly leadership requires a good team. I have been so fortunate to serve as leader an FNM Delivery Team that always seeks to deliver even more for you. The inability to make a decision is a weakness of leadership; indeed it is a failure of leadership. One can consult too long, leading to the paralysis of analysis, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. liked to call it.
This is why Christie failed so spectacularly in office. He was scared to lead and refused to act. So, for five years he talked. When he came back to you in 2007, you asked him what he did.
He gave you fancy talk about why he was always late-again and Never-Ready. Then he said he would do better next time. But, you fired him. Do you think he’s gotten any better? If you give them a next time, in no time they will run out of time and you’ll be even worse off.
There’s that old saying: "Half finished work generally proves to be labour lost..." For the PLP the saying should read: Work never done proves to be nothing gained. This is exactly where the PLP left this country...nothing gained. In fact they took us backwards. They are the party of nada, zilch, zero.
A T-I-E-A is the short name of a tax agreement between The Bahamas and other countries. They are necessary for the stability of our financial services industry. Over the past five years this FNM Government negotiated and signed more than 24 of them.
You know how many of these agreements the Christie Government negotiated. You guessed it; 0.
They have a record of big fat 0s. Zero schools built. Zero acres added to the National Park System. Zero people benefitting from a National Prescription Drug Benefit under them. Zero Courts completed. Zero major infrastructure projects. Zero Defence Force vessels purchased. Zero e-passports processed on their watch. Zero electronic bracelets for criminal offenders. Zero straw vendors who benefitted from the straw market Christie never built.
Zero is also the number of Bahamians who would have gotten shares in the new Port if the PLP had its way. Now there are over 11,065 shareholders which amount to many more Bahamian families.
And you know that 100 Days they talking about. Take that one off and add zero for triple zero. Now the party of zero says they have even bigger plans than the ones they couldn’t do over the course of 1825 days.
Don’t forget what one newspaper said about them earlier in the campaign: “When parties make promises that are obviously unrealistic, they insult the people. Bahamians deserve better than wild promises – especially from the oldest political party in the country. We would suggest that the PLP revisit its education promise and tone it down. The PLP can do better.”
No, the truth is, that they really can’t do better. And, good luck on getting them to tone down their wild promises. All they have is promises, because they don’t have a good record to stand on. They are the party of big talk and no action.
We are proud of the substantial list of accomplishments presented in our Manifesto 2012. Our lists are demonstrate what we have done; you can touch and see them – roads, schools, health clinic, hospital emergency rooms; young people have gone to COB or abroad to college because of them; 17,000 Bahamians have enjoy prescription drug benefits as a result of them and 22,000 Bahamians have benefitted from a new unemployment benefit.
Then look at the supposed achievements of the PLP have struggled to list in their election platform. They have only one page of so-called accomplishments which they put in big print. Check the claims of their accomplishment and you’ll plenty big holes in many of them claims.
The people who talk about Bahamians got foreigners to redesign downtown and sold visas to foreigners. Those same people now say in their election platform that they only want Bahamians working on airports in the Family Islands – BUT they went and got a foreigner to design the Marsh Harbour airport.
Don’t get me started on Mayaguana. There were plenty zeroes in that too such as the 10,000 acres of your land they were giving away. I was just there and the people tell me how they plenty happy with the new agreement we negotiated to get back 6,000 acres. By the way, you can start sending goodbye kisses to one V. Alfred Gray.
Anyway, all I can say is: Same Perry Christie, Same PLP! Keep them out so they don’t sell you out.
They are so desperate that they are willing to talk down our number one industry. Christie presided over the largest one time disappearance of Bahamian hotel rooms ever by a Bahamian prime minister. Maybe he should go post up signs telling people that.
But speaking of that, how do you go about scaring tourists and playing with the incomes of taxi drivers, hair braiders, shop keepers, straw vendors and others one day. Then, if by some remote chance you get back to office, you turn around and tell tourists please come to the very country we were trying to frighten you away from.
Now that is truly Unthinkable, Unbelievable.
I hope everybody recognizes the two Christies. One of them can’t stop talking. The other one is tight-lipped, mum when it comes to whether he thinks those offensive billboards should ever have been put up. You notice it was Brave doing all the talking?
And when Brave is talking he’s busy trying to talk down the very positive numbers that are coming in on our tourism performance - from the airlines, from the cruise ships and from the hotel occupancy.
We officially opened Arawak Cay Port Limited earlier today. I told you before. What’s good for you is very bad for them. Now the oil lobbyist team of Christie and Davis is trying to distract you from their influence peddling for an oil company.
The new Port on Arawak Cay cost some eighty million. Their plan for a port in the southwest of New Providence was projected to cost $300 million. Now what do you think was cooking? Can you imagine what that would have done to tariff rates?
The last time the PLP protested against the Arawak Cay port relocation and the development of the surrounding areas, it was because Jerome Fitzgerald and other PLP insiders wanted to build a water plant in the spot where the port is now.
Just so you see the play. The land at Arawak Cay is owned by the Government. Some of the land they identified for the port in the southwest is owned by one of Frankie Wilson’s companies.
When they say Bahamians first, they don’t mean those faces on their posters.
Their Bahamians First include the names of Christie, Davis, Bradley Roberts, Jerome Fitzgerald, Shane Gibson, Allyson Maynard Gibson, Leslie Miller and others, or as Christie would call this group, my cabinet. What it really should be called is PLP Incorporated.
We are distinctly different. We made it possible for government employees to purchase shares in ADP by way of salary advances repayable to the Treasury.
All of the shares have equal standing. There is no distinction between the shares of the private companies, the Government, or the Bahamian public. Everyone will get a dividend at the same time.
The current tariffs at the new Port will be consistent with rates around our Region. If they had their way and the Port was moved to the southwest, the tariff increases would have had to be astronomical. This means your cost of living would have gone up and you would be paying even more for food, cars and plenty other things. And, this from the people who say they put you first. Put you first, my two foot.
If Woodes Rodgers came back from the time he lived in the 17th and 18th century he would immediately recognize today’s PLP to be the pirates of old in search of gold.
He would recognize them by their plundering zeal. In chasing away the pirates of his day Woodes Rodgers had his own theme – Expel Pirates, Restore Commerce. The Bahamian version of this is: Keep them out so they don’t sell you out. Gold Rush ain’t new in The Bahamas. It’s just that the PLP has reinvented it for a new day.
I warned you at the beginning of this campaign about that Gold Rush crew. Now we know that it’s a Gold Rush for oil which as you know some people call black gold.
Have you heard Perry’s round the merry-go-round statements on his work for a foreign oil company? They go something like this:
I was a consultant to, but not necessarily a consultant for, a company for which I consulted, but for which I no longer consult at this time, though having consulted for them in the past I was a consultant.
Christie thinks he’s being slick. The only problem is that he keeps getting caught in an oil slick.
It’s almost like a lil boy’s Mommy coming home and meeting half the chocolate cake gone. But when she asks him if he ate the cake he mouth get all twist up.
“Well, Mommy, I’ve eaten chocolate cake before and I like chocolate cake, but as you can see I am not presently eating from that chocolate cake, though I may have in the past.”
Mind you, the cake all over his face, the icing on his shirt and his fingers sticky with cake and icing. Then when his mother insists that he ate the cake, he threatens to sue her. Some people just like to have their cake and eat it too. Same Perry Christie, Same PLP.
You don’t have to hurt up your head to figure out what the PLP’s position is on drilling. Their position is very simple, just three words: “Drill Baby Drill.”
Of course, “Drill Baby Drill” is a variation on the theme that binds the PLP leadership together, which is just four more words: All for Me Baby.
I hear Leslie Miller having plenty to say about oil drilling. Maybe Perry might put Leslie in charge of oil. I wonder who in the PLP will come to earn the title of Goldfinger, which was the name of one of the characters in James Bond movie with that same name?
Whoever wins, they can use the Goldfinger song from the movie as their theme song. Let me remind you of some of the words from the song. “Golden words he will pour in your ear
They say oil don’t spoil; but, as they say, Safety First. So just to be on the safe side, don’t let that Gold Rush crew spoil any possible Bahamian oil through any All for Me Baby oil deals.
I have reported to you before - Christie is running many of the same compromised people who served in his Government. Those not running are busily engaged in pulling the strings from behind the scenes. Christie gets on TV with what he calls his new team; he’s crossing his fingers hoping that you won’t notice that Shane Gibson, Alfred Gray and Leslie Miller are standing in the shadows while all take directions from the old team: Bradley Roberts, Valentine Grimes, Alyson Maynard-Gibson & Company!
If you think that this group sounds like “The Firm”, that’s exactly what it is. It’s the firm of greedy self-interests that runs the PLP. The real bosses are lurking in the shadows ready to wheel and deal and connive and jive. They are afraid of the sunshine. The torch scares the life out of them.
And, now on the eve of the general election we find out that the Leader and Deputy Leader of the PLP are consultants for a foreign oil company that wants permission to drill for oil in The Bahamas. It is the same oil company that did business with the Christie administration.
Despite the unavoidable appearance of a massive conflict of interest and possible influence peddling, Perry Christie won’t come clean with the Bahamian people. His silence is not golden. It speaks volumes. The man who likes to talk has gone silent on this issue.
Can you imagine what The Bahamas would be like if Perry Christie and the PLP were in office for the past five years?
Can you imagine five years of PLP influence peddling, wheeling and dealing, and sleaze and scandal?
Can you imagine five more years of a Late-Again, Never-Ready, Delivery Failed PLP?
Can you imagine five more years of weak, incompetent and hopeless leadership by Perry Christie?
Can you imagine five more years of scandals related to oil drilling by the lobbying partnership of Christie and Davis?
Can you imagine five years of more visa scandals, money in the closet and selling out our fisheries to foreigners?
Can you imagine five more years of Shane Gibson and Leslie Miller back large and in charge doing whatever they want whenever they want with no one to stop them?
Can you imagine five more years of the likes of Bradley Roberts, Alyson Maynard Gibson, Obie Wilchcombe and Alfred Gray conniving and jiving?
The Bahamian people have had ENOUGH OF THEM.
NO MORE OF THEIR SCANDALS.
NO MORE OF THEIR MASSIVE INCOMPETENCE.
NO RETURN TO THE WEAKEST LEADERHSIP OF ANY PRIME MINISTER IN BAHAMIAN HISTORY UNDER PERRY CHRISTIE.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
Not even in office, the PLP is again faced with what might become one of the biggest scandals in Bahamian history. It involves the very man who is seeking to become prime minister. Same Perry Christie, Same PLP.
Perry Christie cannot be allowed to go to May 7th and not answer serious questions about a major decision that can put the very livelihood of every Bahamian at risk. We must demand to hear Christie speak.
If he remains silent or does not fully and openly answer many critical questions, you must vote against the PLP. Our national security involves crime on the street and protecting our borders. But our national survival is tied to questions Christie refuses to answer.
Do not give the PLP Firm a chance to sell-off your country like they did with those 10,000 acres in Mayaguana. This issue is many times more serious than Mayaguana...and that was bad enough.
Remind them that Dis we Bahamian ‘Tings. Keep them out so they don’t sell you out. Don’t mind that slogan. Under the cover of dark, and behind-the-scenes they sell you out...then they have the gall to tell you that they put you first. They are shameful. They are a disgrace.
If the PLP comes back to office it will be the biggest sell-off of Bahamian patrimony and land to foreigners in Bahamian history. Don’t forget about how they bragged that they sold more land to foreigners than the FNM.
We see the precious land and resources of this country as the natural patrimony of the Bahamian people. The PLP see your land as their personal patrimony that they can auction off to foreigners so they can fill up their bank accounts.
If they come back, there won’t be enough bags and closets in their houses to stash their ill-gotten gain. They’ll have to stop using grocery bags and start using Croker sacks and cardboard boxes and Gucci suitcase. Same Perry Christie, Same PLP.
Women of The Bahamas:
Our opponents seek to build an opportunity club for themselves and their families. We seek to build a greater Opportunity Society for every Bahamian chid regardless of the circumstance of his or her birth.
The Leader of the Opposition says that we finished the major New Providence water and road works and utility upgrades too quickly. He says we should have stretched it over 10 years. That was the original plan. We started these works in our prior term in office. If Christie had finished the work, they would have been done by now.
Even though there were delays, the biggest delay was the five long years the Christie Government didn’t finish the work we began. They tried to get a foreign company to finish the work. But no reputable company would touch them with a ten-foot pole given their reputation for wheeling and dealing.
I want to speak directly to every mother in this country, including young mothers, and women who are now pregnant. Paving a road does not take a very long time. If that is all we had to do, the roads would have been paved earlier.
But it was the work under the road that you can’t see that took most of the time. We found under our roads pipes laid 30, 40, 50 years ago. Many of them were rusted and burst.
We found utility wires all jumbled up and at risk of potentially causing fires and serious electrical and other problems. You know how sometimes all the wires get jumbled up in the back of your TV or the computer. You know how frustrating it is to have to untangle all them wires.
This is exactly what we had to do the length and breadth of this island. And, to make sure they wouldn’t get twist up again, we labelled many thousands of feet of wires. But more importantly we had to dig up and throw out miles and miles of old rotten pipes.
I again apologize for the delays, inconveniences and hardships caused by the road works. But I will not apologize for delivering clean, fresh water and good water pressure to tens of thousands of residents of New Providence.
We will not apologize for delivering safe water for the babies and grandbabies and children on this island. We will not apologize for delivering healthy water to residents Over-the-Hill and thousands of people who live East. There is an old African proverb that says, “Filthy water cannot be washed.” We do not apologize for banishing orange water from this island.
Christie should be ashamed of himself for criticizing any effort that will make our people safe in terms of good water. Do not forget that the PLP voted against a major water project connected to the new Airport Gateway Project.
Water is not just any commodity or product. Water is the basis for all living things, as important as the air we breathe. Just like we need clean air, we need clean water. One advocate for the guarantee of fresh water for every human being once said:
“If you could tomorrow morning make water clean in the world, you would have done, in one fell swoop, the best thing you could have done for improving human health by improving environmental quality.”
This is what we are doing. We have begun the most massive water upgrade in the history of this country. We are doing so across the length and breadth of The Bahamas. Good, clean water is critical for national and economic development and our tourism industry. Potable water, as they call helps to prevent the outbreak of disease, including mosquito-borne diseases.
Good water is essential for health and nutrition especially for newborns and children. We have a high rate of various cancers in The Bahamas. We have to eliminate the various factors which may give rise to such cancers.
We do not know the role bad water and rusty pipes may play in terms of various health problems. But I know this: No Government in good conscience could have left those rusty and broken pipes under the ground with water flowing unprotected and into your homes potentially putting your health at risk.
I am truly sorry that the road works caused difficulties. Still, we had to act in a comprehensive manner. We couldn’t risk your health and that of your families by taking another decade to complete work that should have been done decades ago. More delay and half-steps were not an option.
As for me, I rather make some mistakes doing the right thing, than doing nothing and sitting on the sidelines criticizing and complaining.
I intend for the Bahamian people to have some of the best water in the world. If Christie and the PLP want to criticize us for this, I think you can make your own judgment on that come May 7th.
Mothers and Grandmothers:
We intend to do more in our next term in terms of good water. In December we signed a contract to improve our water and water distribution system even more. We currently lose most of the water pumped by the Water & Sewerage Corporation.
With people across the world dying because of contaminated water and with the scarcity of water experienced by millions it is immoral to waste so much good water. God don’t like waste!
We are also putting Water & Sewerage on a better footing so that the Public Treasury doesn’t have to keep subsidizing it with resources that could be allocated to other critical needs such as to fighting crime. WSC presently does not generate revenue from over five million imperial gallons of the water it supplies daily in New Providence. This is equivalent to over 50 per cent in losses. This is valued at nearly $16 million annually.
With the contract we signed, we are forecast to save 10 billion gallons of water over the next ten years. The contract was worth $83 million but will give us projected savings of over $80 million.
We are saving two resources: water and your money. The project will include the replacement and maintenance of over 23,000 service connections, improved customer service, the detection and repair of over 6,000 leaks, and a remote monitoring system for the water network to cut down on waste.
One of our ambitions in this project is to ensure that every house Over-the-Hill has a proper connection to the main water system. We intend to deliver something the PLP should have done more than forty years ago. I say to residents of Over-the-Hill, you are going to have some of the best water in the world.
Women of The Bahamas:
In 2002, the now defunct CDR which was led by Dr. B.J. Nottage, along with a Labour coalition, said this in its election platform, Contract 2002:
“Coalition+Labour takes seriously the National Crime Commission’s assessment “that the Bahamian Society is more threatened by a pervasive culture of dishonesty, greed and a casual disregard for social norms and formal regulation, than it is by crimes in the normal sense” and accordingly a Coalition+Labour approach to crime will be deliberate and intolerant of wrong doing and corruption in any form, at any level.””
If that was true then, it is still true today. I remind Dr. Nottage of this for several reasons.
It is the PLP, the party he went back, that tolerated the mass illicit drug trafficking of the 1980s as well as the mass corruption which planted the seeds of much of the gang culture and criminality we are still fighting today. If he thought he could go back to the PLP and reform that corrupt culture, he made the wrong bet.
I remind Dr. Nottage that we do not have a garrison culture such as Jamaica where only people from a certain party can go into various communities. That is the culture that produced men like the Jamaican drug lord Dudus who is now in US custody like other major drug lords in this region.
I further remind the PLP that they don’t own Over-the-Hill. This is a free country. The people in communities Over-the-Hill are not your servants. You are there to serve them. As head of government and as a Bahamian citizen I will go to any community in this country unafraid. I will not allow our opponents to intimidate the supporters of other parties from visiting wherever they like whenever they like.
In 2009, at the PLP National Convention, Mother Pratt said that she thought it is wrong to “politicize the causes of crime.” She said: “Time has proven that crime is not a PLP or FNM problem. It remains a national challenge and it demands a mature and comprehensive response.”
We must do many things to fight crime and its causes. Which is exactly what my Government is doing. We have done and are doing more in every area to fight crime and its causes than was done by the Christie Government, much more.
But to effectively fight crime demands strong leadership which is exactly what Mr. Ray Bratton, the former Commissioner of Police of New York City told us during his recent consultation with us. Of course this is true in every area of national life. Without leadership nothing gets done. Leadership is about action...not talk.
To fight crime requires clean hands, a strong leader, a decisive leader. This fight against crime will not be won through slogans, speeches, brochures, dishonest TV ads and billboards. If someone cannot lead his own party, he cannot lead on crime. Perry Christie is incapable of neither.
You cannot lead an assault on the causes of crime if you tolerate and/or participate in activities which question your commitment to fight illegality and corruption at every level, especially in your own Government.
Officers and Members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force:
On behalf of a grateful nation, I thank you for your sacrifices and dedicated service. You are one of our first lines of defence. The FNM will always provide you with the conditions of service and tools you need to defend the country that you love. I salute your bravery and your patriotism.
We have invested heavily in the Force over the past five years. We will do more in our next term. During our next term we will: Increase the strength of the Police Force by an additional 250 officers. We will recruit and specially train police officers from remote Family Islands to serve in their communities.
We will: Combine community policing and modern technology to increase the Capacity of the Police to predict and prevent crime. We will: Set up specially targeted training to enhance the investigative skills of members of the Force.
We will: Ensure continued and adequate funding for the Police; ensure dedicated police patrols and police presence in neighbourhoods; and require Police District Commanders to hold public meetings on a monthly basis to report on police and criminal matters within each District. We will have more officers walking the beat day and night.
We are significantly expanding Closed Circuit TV coverage as a tool of crime fighting and continue aggressive national and international anti-drug trafficking campaigns with particular attention to eradicating drug cartels.
I thank too the dedicated men and women of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force. We view you as the serious professional you are. Our long-range strategic plan for you has been carefully done with expert advice from among your ranks.
We didn’t wake up one morning and get caught with our pants down, and with no plan for the Defence Force like Christie and the PLP got caught last week.
His cut-and-paste plan was basically to copycat what appears in our Manifesto. Then to hide what he was doing he juggled the numbers a bit to try and fool people into believing that they actually have a plan.
Young Women and Young Men:
A persistent untruth of the PLP concerns urban renewal. They have tried to create an urban myth that urban renewal was cancelled by my Government. This is a lie. Various parts of various urban renewal efforts saw an increase in funding under our administration.
Week before last we gave $1 million dollars in grants for urban outreach and youth which we think will reach even more people. And we will do even more especially in the area of genuine National Youth Service that will be worthy of the name.
I would like to once again speak to residents in various grassroots neighbourhoods. First of all, a big upset may be on the horizon in Bain Town and Grants Town.
B.J. has had his chance. Like Christie he didn’t think enough of you to spend a big chunk of his MP constituency allowance. You know what could have been done with that money. Why didn’t they care enough?
Give John Bostwick a chance. Give Ella Lewis a chance. John is young and full of energy to implement creative ideas and plans. Ella is a teacher dedicated to developing young people. He will do great things with your help. Give me a chance.
Just like we transformed the roads, introduced cleaner water, fixed your street lights, built a new Saunders Beach Park and transformed Montagu Beach Park into a thing of beauty, we will work in partnership with you.
I have already announced that in the first year of our next term I will lead an economic and trade mission to Latin America. I will take with me to Brazil, the Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture. While in Brazil, I will seek to visit and meet with individuals working in a powerful youth and community development programme called Afro Reggae.
We have announced in our Manifesto that we will: “Develop a youth outreach initiative based on the success of the Afro Reggae Programme in Brazil.” I announce tonight that we will launch this programme in a facility Over-the-Hill.
Let me tell you a little bit about this Afro Reggae Group. The programme began in an economically disadvantaged neighbourhood in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. It was developed in response to serious violence triggered by drugs and related criminal activity. The group initially offered workshops in dance, percussion, soccer and a few other areas related to the culture of Brazil.
The mission of Afro Reggae was: “To offer a cultural and artistic education for adolescents...by affording local youth more chances of strengthening their citizenship” and providing them “a viable path away from entanglement in the prevalent drug trade.”
“Through the power of the arts, entertainment and film and documentary production, Afro Reggae has transformed the lives of thousands and helped to sustain itself.”
Afro Reggae has transformed minds and hearts by providing career paths, and helping to break the cycle of poverty for many. It has restored community while giving voice to cultural expression to thousands. “The programme is targeted for young people but engages their parents and others in its programme of transformation.”
“Afro Reggae’s offerings have expanded to include circus arts, a theatrical group, community service to the elderly, choirs, a newspaper, radio programmes, and an internet site dedicated to Afro-Brazilian culture.”
The FNM’s vision is to utilize Bahamian culture as the route or the means to help transform the lives of and to provide hope and opportunity to hundreds and perhaps thousands of young Bahamians.
Let us use our cultural expressions such as Junkanoo, rake ‘n scrape, quadrille dancing and other forms of artistic expression to help our young people to build community, forge a greater Bahamian identity, and turn away from gangs, anti-social behaviour, and other at-risk behaviours.
Such a cultural centre may discover a new Freddie Munnings Sr., another Peanuts Taylor, Sidney Poitier, Susan Wallace or Paul Meeres. It may help to discover a new Cleophas Adderley, Joanne Calendar or Max Taylor.
Such a centre will offer workshops in various arts, cultural expression and entertainment. It can help to discipline and guide scores of young people. It will help them to give voice to their talents.
And you know that we will deliver on this, because unlike others, We Deliver on our promises. I lead the Delivery Team, not the talking team.
Young Women & Men;
In transforming our country we cannot go with the smallness of vision and the weakness of leadership of the PLP. We cannot go with the Same Perry Christie and the Same PLP. Not only will they take the country backwards; they lack the vision and the quality of leadership needed to move The Bahamas forward.
The FNM is the Party of Opportunity. You can believe what I pledge to do on your behalf. You can believe the FNM. We are the Party that delivers. We are the Party of Proven Leadership. We are Ever-Ready to work for you.
We have been encouraged by the donations you have made online and in person at various branches of Royal Bank. We ask for your continued support in the countdown to Election Day. Your support of time, talent and treasure is extraordinary. On behalf of the FNM, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I ask all remaining voters to pick up their cards as soon as possible and have information corrected on it if this is necessary. There is very little time left.
As we depart tonight FNMs, I ask you, come go with me and the FNM. Fortify yourself with good cheer, confidence, and prayer. Press on mightily, for in the end and God-willing the Bahamian people will reach for the torch of freedom and say no to those hands reaching for that gold in the cookie jar.Let us join in one accord as together we build an even better Bahamas. Thank you. God bless our young people and God bless The Bahamas. Good night.
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