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DNA press release: Shanty Towns - Broken Promises
Submitted by the DNA Party   
Tuesday, 01 April 2014 06:53

bNearly one year ago, the PLP government set out on a mission to rid the island of New Providence and eventually the country of the scores of shanty town communities inhabited by illegal migrants. The Minister responsible for Immigration, even made an impassioned contribution from the floor of Parliament detailing government’s plans and further, orchestrated very public media displays in which a handful of buildings in a few of these communities were actually demolished. Now, months later however, it would appear that the government has lost its zeal for this effort, again proving that its promises of sustained action in addressing this long standing problem, were simply that, promises; and a promise is a comfort to a fool.

As this year has progressed, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) has received reports that those “cleared” communities are not only being repopulated, but that new shanty towns continue to pop up all across New Providence and throughout the country. During my time as State Minister of Immigration, the Department of Immigration recorded up to 37 of these illegal communities in New Providence which housed hundreds of families (and in particular young children) living in what can only be described as deplorable conditions…conditions not fit for human habitation.

The existence of these illegal shanty towns continue to pose a threat to the development of a healthy and law abiding society. Data compiled by this and previous administrations have detailed the dangers which exist as a result of illegally run electrical wiring that have already resulted in countless fires. The environmental concerns arising out of such communities are equally alarming; however the government continues to lack the political will to sustain the push to rid the country of this element.

How many more times will the PLP government promise to do its job and fail? How many more chances will the PLP administration be given to get it right? And what about the government’s commitment to spreading these efforts to the family islands?

DNA press release: Show us the Money!
Submitted by the DNA Party   
Monday, 31 March 2014 06:48

It has now become clearer than ever before, that Prime Minister Perry Christie has abandoned any pretenses that he or his administration has any intention of addressing the myriad of pressing national issues facing this country.  

Last week, the Prime Minister again proved that he is concerned only with his personal comfort and legacy as a political figure, announcing plans to construct new Parliamentary facilities and a residence for the Prime Minister.  

Clearly, he has chosen to abandon the many issues which his party promised to confront while on the campaign trail. Promises of increased employment; promises of mortgage relief; promises of improved crime fighting and immigration measures and promises of economic stability have all taken a back seat to the Prime Minister’s pet projects; the first of which included the disastrous “referendum” on gaming and most recently his push for new Parliamentary facilities and a residence for the Prime Minister.  

The Prime Minister’s comments prove yet again, that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), despite their “Believe in Bahamians” election mantra, cannot be trusted to make the needs of the country a priority.  

In a Bahamas where struggling men and women continue to lose their jobs and their homes, the Prime Minister is choosing to agitate for grander political edifices.  

Environment, ICTs focus at statistics workshops
Submitted by BIS   
Sunday, 30 March 2014 07:56

The Environment and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) will be the focus of separate workshops that will be held in St.Vincent and the Grenadines in early April.    

The workshops, hosted by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat will deal with statistics and indicators in both sectors, and are funded by the European Union (EU) under the Tenth European Development Fund (10th EDF), CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and Economic Integration Programme.    

The two-day CARICOM Workshop on Environment Statistics will be convened in collaboration with the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) on 7 April, 2014 in Kingstown.    

The forum will bring together a cross-section of Member States to review the Environment Statistics and Indicators submitted to the CARICOM Secretariat focusing on thematic areas with significant data gaps. One of the main areas of focus will be the comparability of data as efforts continue to harmonise environment statistics. It is expected that participants will be able to share their country experiences in environment data collection, compilation and dissemination, and establish a network of environment statisticians among Member States.    

The second CARICOM Workshop on the Development of Caribbean Specific Information and Communication Technologies Statistics and Indicators will be held 9-11 April, 2014, also in Kingstown. It will explore Caribbean specific ICT themes, indicators and metadata in areas such as poverty alleviation, agriculture, the environment, information literacy, governance, security and health.  

Statement by Hon. D. Shane Gibson in response to Loretta Butler Turner on labour matters
Submitted by Elcott Coleby   
Thursday, 27 March 2014 08:19

On behalf of the Government of The Bahamas, I wish to express my profound disappointment at the untrue and scandalous statements  made by Mrs. Loretta Butler-Turner, Deputy Leader of the FNM and Member of Parliament for Long Island during the Cable 12 evening newscast on Tuesday March 25, 2014.

During her interview, Mrs. Butler-Turner noted that, prior to the 2012 general elections, the PLP made members of the Bahamas Customs, Immigration & Allied Workers Union feel that if elected, a PLP Government will move to reverse the shift system following the election. This is false, misleading and deceptive. I strongly condemn her for these untruthful and scandalous remarks and demand that she retract them and publicly apologize to the Bahamian public and the working people of the Bahamas.

At no time during the 2012 election campaign did the PLP promise to reverse the shift system. All right and reasonable thinking citizens would know that the shift system was contained in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that was negotiated, signed and registered in 2005. This historic agreement which was signed by the Hon. Fred Mitchel, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service and Executives of the Bahamas Public Service Union and registered by the Bahamas Industrial Tribunal in accordance with section 51 of the Industrial Relations Act 1970 made the shift system legally binding on both parties and, as such, no government could unilaterally reverse the shift system.  

What the PLP did promise to the thousands of Bahamian workers and their trade union leaders, was to aggressively address all of their disputes and issues that workers’ complained about while Mrs. Butler-Turner served as a Cabinet Minister in the FNM Government. The PLP also committed to work unceasingly to resolve the many outstanding matters that were brought to the attention of the FNM during the 2007 – 2012 period. I wish to remind Mrs. Butler-Turner of the many outstanding trade union disputes and incomplete industrial agreement that the PLP Government met when we came to office and what has been done to address and resolved these matters.

Statement from FNM Chairman Darron Cash Re Mortgage Relief
Submitted by the FNM   
Thursday, 27 March 2014 08:11

Thousands of Bahamians--FNMs and PLPs--indeed Bahamians of all political stripes stand with the FNM Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner in believing that Bahamians should be marching on Parliament in protest of the PLP's failure and deceit on mortgage relief. That Party promised mortgage relief to thousands of people in the general election campaign and to date their record is one of doing good for only a select, well-connected few. Most Bahamians in mortgage distress have been left to fend for themselves. Because of the government's failure to deliver on meaningful mortgage relief, these hurting Bahamians are rightly angered and a decision to march on Parliament is very much in order. The key question is who should LEAD it?

Furthermore, the Deputy's statement should be taken in context. Yes she did call for people to join her. HOWEVER, the inference was VERY clear that the issue would be discussed with her Parliamentary colleagues to assess their perspectives. The issue was in fact discussed and the consensus position was precisely as was well articulated by the party leader Dr. Hubert Minnis--the Party would not LEAD such a march or demonstration.

The FNM Parliamentary team's assessment of this issue was crystal clear--this government is already under-performing on the subject of mortgage relief. As a result of that, we do not intend to give Mr. Christie's government any new excuse to do even less than they are doing now. The team understood that the FNM's involvement in any such protest as a LEAD organizer--at this time--would immediately give the government further excuse for under-performance by insisting that the people's protest was POLITICALLY MOTIVATED.

The FNM team understands that in a spiteful and vindictive environment such as the one perpetuated by Perry Christie, anyone standing on the side of the FNM would be subject to further neglect, and that would defeat the purpose of a march in the first place. The FNM has no interest in giving this lackluster and lazy government any further excuse--to do nothing or to further victimize people who really need their help. Consequently, the team decided that despite the merits of mass protest, the FNM's direct participation or leadership in a public protest was not the best action at this time.

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