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May 26, 2007

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interested

You have made the same mistake that some others have made. Your statements to the effect that there was five years of economic prosperity under the PLP administration is highly questionable.

Certainly if you listened to the PLP and to the trumped up Central Bank reports without critical analysis you may come to this opinion.

But the real figures and the picture on the ground for the average man tells a different story. Also the outlook for the economy based on the PLP's economic development plans, at least the one that we could see, shows declining propspects to the critical eye.

See for example the revised and true tourism figures, look at the true foreign reserve picture without govt loans to the central bank held as so called (artificial) reserves, look at the state of financial services and all of the impedients internatially to any possible resurrection as we once knew it. These things paint the real picture of the ecnomic position and prospects for the Bahamas.

It is really not a pretty picture if we do not want to just fool ourselves, which unfortunately we have a tendency to do in this country.

The FNM govt has one hell of a problem on their hands with any true economic developent because the PLP wasted five years doing very little. Tourism our only real short term hope other than selling the country out to foreign developers, is on a significant decline and the competition globally is fierce. It is going to be very difficult to recover from this slide and it will take some time.

But the first problem is to understand exactly where we are by looking at the true economic picture, analyzing the true unadulterated facts, and not being fooled by rosy sugar coated facts as was fed to us by the PLP. The first thing the FNM govt has to do is to start feeding us the true figures, this will go a long way toward true economic development, since we have so far to go, and so much to do, to be globally competitive at this point.

Elcott Coleby

I wish to respond to interested. What trumped up central bank reserve figures do you speak of? When the PLP floated $200 million worth of bonds on the international market back in 2003, it was done to pay off a consortia of commercial banks through which the first FNM government had secured US$125 million in credit facility in the wake of Sept 11. They claimed at the time that this was a contingency and would be used only if needed. Well, after the 2002 general elections, the PLP revealed to the public that the money was spent and the first order of business of the new parliament was to table a resolution to borrow divers sums of money to defray government expenses. At the time the government's overdraft was in excess of $100 million, the highest in the country's history. Eventhough Ingraham bragged about the yearly incremental increases in government revenue averaging 10% between 1992 and 2002, he still managed to defer payments for 8 of the 10 years in office and left more than $325 million in unpaid bills that the PLP paid off in their first 22 months in office. Sadly for Bahamians, this government is back with the same Prime Minister. The legacy of the FNM government is that they squandered the prosperity of the 1990's. Their level of borrowing was unsustainable as it was not dictated by the rate of economic expansion. One of the legacies of the Christie administration is the fact that they brought a measure of fiscal order or disciplne to public finances and I thank James Smith and Perry Christie for that. Further, the only journalist who was prepared to credit the Christie administration with this was Nikki Kelly and I appreciate her objectivity. When it was warranted however, Mrs. Kelly would launch scathing attacks on the PLP.

On the issue of tourism numbers, the ministry revealed that there were some duplcation of numbers for cruise ship visitors as they visit more than one port within the Bahamas. What Interested did not mention (conveniently, I imagine) was that tourism revenue was not declining as average room rates remain strong.

As for future economic propects, the IMF (the global central bank), not the PLP government, indicated that the future economic prospects for the Bahamas looks bright. If there is information to the contrary that Intetested has, then it should be shared. What is it that Interested knows that the technocrats at the IMF do not know? Come forth with the information.

Interested expressed concern that the country was sold to foreigners by the PLP government. Where was this person when the Immovable Prperties Act was replaced with International Person's Land Holding Act by the FNM. Where was Interested when Ambassador Beach, Royal Bahamian, Atlantik Beach, and the Grand Bahama Beach hotels were sold. The lease hold structure held by the Hotel Corporation was converted to fee simple so the ownership of the land no longer belong to the Bahamian people. People like Interested were silent during this period. The property on which the Four Seasons sits in Exuma was also crown land.

Interested's posting is a typical recitation of FNM propaganda. It is unfair to impune the reputation and legacy of the Christie administration without the presentation of hard supporting facts. If this person has hard data and statistics to support the charges and opinions expressed, please present them. I would be more than happy to attack each one, line by line.

interested

You lay out a nice defense of the PLP's position. However it will be difficult to fully relay the actual arguments against your premises in a forum such as this, we will simply go back and forth on who's version of the facts is to be believed. However to give another view of your facts, first the $200 million dollar international bond was a first of its kind for the Bahamas, givijg us a new kind of debt obligation and starting the ball rolling on the trumped up reserves as part of it was used indirectly to artificailly pump up the reserves.

In addition an analysis of the nature of the reserves will reveal that a significant and increasing portion of it can be attributed to govt notes which are held by the central bank. If there was a serious call on these funds it would be doubtful that the govt would be able to adequately respond other than to go and float another inernational bond or service the call in some other self debilitating manner.

In addition a review of the precipitous rise and make up of the Bahamas debt/GDP ratio will produce some troubling results under the PLP administration. Be prepared for some revealing and troubling revelations about these issues once the FNM admnistration has had time to review the books.

Secondly most international observers understand that the IMF reports are usually very generous in their evealuations on most countries, usually giving them the benefit of the doubt since usually their reports are largely based on the figures and submissions provided by the respective countries. Realize that many of these countries are debtors or loan guarantee beneficiaries of the IMF, and as such the IMF cannot truly trash them as needed because it will be ultimately doing damage to itself, so it traditionally is extremely cautious about being too negative in its reports. You have to read carefully between the lines to adequately analyse these reports.

Perhaps a better review of the IMF's reports should be analyzed by doing a comparative evaluation of their reports on other similar countries, then you will understand that their reports do not have the significance that you would like placed upon them. Just take a look comparatively at the reports for a few other countries and it will probably shock you.

In any event a close reading of the IMF report on the Bahamas would show that it is really not as positive as you project and less positive than it was under the previous Ingrahm govt.

Tourism figures have been on a relative decline for sometime. The differenc is that the PLP govt attempted to hide the facts and paint an overly rosy picture. Their tourism efforts have been particularly dismal, and the only response they put forward is that revenues are holding their own because the room rates have been raised. Even an economics 101 high school student would understand that you cannot continue to raise hotel room rates and subsequently use this as a long term strategy for success, it is really a very juvenile defense and they should be ashamed to have to use it.

Simply they should face up to the facts and use figures from the world tourism organizations which show the Bahamas declining in Tourism in the face of other countries making trememdous strides. This is what I mean about facing up to the music in the marketplace. We only fool ourselves when we don't.

Finally, Typical of the PLP's reponse is that they would like to brand any objective opinions that are negative on their performance as opposing political rhetoric, however I am happy to report that if indeed I have any leaning to a political party it would historically be the PLP.

My analysis is simply an attempt to be objective in my hope that it will help PLP or FNM govts do what is best, and most of all face up to the facts.

I would however like to commend Mr. Coleby's articulate defense of the PLP's record. I believe I know Mr. Coleby and I have a great deal of respect for his opinions although I disagree on the points we discussed above. I do believe that people like Mr. Coleby and others in the PLP should have been put forward to relay the PLP's message and defend their record before and during the election. Even though I disagree with their conclusions in great part, I believe that those in the party such as Mr. Coleby would have done a much better job and would have had much more credibility than those who were apparently chosen to defend the record during and before the campaign. At least there would have been some semblence of credibility in their prognostications.

Keep up the good work Mr. Coleby, if you are who I think you are you are an asset to the party.

DJosey

Notwithstanding some positive achievements by this past PLP administration, they were judged by the Bahamian people and found wanting. I continue to be amazed at how much disrespect there is for the electorate when our collective intelligence defies that of some of the political elite. By their inability to accept the May 2 results they are demonstrating their disrespect for the master and the authority He gives to the electorate to make or break governments. Indeed the voice of the people is the voice of God irrespective of how gently He spoke in the last election!

The same misguided, unfocused, misdirected misinformed, delusional mindset which guides the former government in its current mis-guided, mis-directed, delusional path; is the same mindset which disconnected them from that small privileged minority – Bahamians with an independent thinking brain.

Today’s successful Bahamas will be built on a policy and strategy which clearly seeks to economically empower all Bahamians and not the enrichment of a selective few. The overall strategy cannot be hit or miss. To put it mildly the Anchor project concept which is built on transferring Bahamian land into the hands of greedy foreigners at concessionary rates for the enrichment of their foreign shareholders was misguided and a modern day rape of the Bahamian people. Only he who knows it feels it!!

There was no great genius involved in the ability of the Bahamas to attract investors, who saw in the Bahamas great opportunity, held by a shallow myopic government. The Bahamas has not been unique in its ability to attract these kinds of projects. Our sister Caribbean nations from the least to the greatest though, have demonstrated surprisingly, more savvy in the way in which they have defined these projects to benefit their local populations. We can do a much better job of managing and exploiting our land resource. The real credit goes to Sol Kerzner and the Vision he had for Atlantis. We need not go overboard to attract a whole lot of duplicates.

With all due respect Mr. Coleby governments do not talk about issues- they make laws and they change laws. If there was something inherently wrong with the Immovable Properties Act –then a responsible government has an obligation to make the necessary adjustments!

The vast numbers of units in Condo Hotels are held by investors whose interest is a return on their investment for their shareholders or investment group. A simple internet search would reveal that most of these units are now being placed back on the market in the Bahamas targeting visitors who are no longer staying in our hotels.

The concept of Anchor Projects on each family island gains a large degree of credibility if some of these ‘Anchors’ reflected diversified projects which were well thought out and consistent with our economic development plan for the Bahamas.

The election campaign and all events in the ensuing aftermath including the constitutionally correct appointment of senators, demonstrated that Mr. Christie and his team has been totally out thought, outmaneuvered, outwitted, and out strategized. We need to find the collective will to have Mr. Christie go quietly into the sunset and allow the real leaders like Bernard Nottage to salvage this great PLP party before its entire base is demoralized by the slate continually being wiped with their collective hinder parts.

barney clarke

Congratulations to the FNM on its election victory.
God bless the Bahamas.

An observer from Canada

my 5 cents

Congradulations FNM!!

joe macaulay

I remember reading Fredmitchelluncensored.com, May 5th 2002. At that time Mitchell thought that if performance was the only baromether, the FNM would have won the government. Read it for youself if you don't believe me!!

That was one of the few times I agreeded with him.

What happens unfortunately is when people win, mo matter the odds against them, they cannot care less how it happened. When they lose however, they want to go about pointing fingers and trying to figure out what went wrong.

How do mature, seasoned politicians, have no shame to come out and say the other guys had more money than them, more tee shirts than them, more this, more that.

I've voted 5 times, whats wrong with me? I have NEVER been offered any money by anyone in all those times. My tee shirts all came with NOTHING in the pockets. The red ones and the gold ones. NOTHING!!

According to the PLP, I need to go get my money from the folks who gave me tee shirts. When I went to the rallies, if I had no money to buy food and drinks, I got none. According to the PLP, my food and drinks should have been FREE!!

Do I not look bribeable? Dammit, I want to be bribed too!!

On a more serious note. I told my FORMER PLP MP that they had to get rid of the dead weights before election. Sidney, Leslie, Koed, Kenyatta and Shane.

He said HE had no problem with them running as the PLP was going to win anyway then, the party MAY do something about the motley crew!!

Some of those buggers survived in their areas but they brought down the whole party. Thats what happens when ya don't listen, ya ga feel!!

Now Craig, where did you get all this insight. When you were trying to get a seat on the PLP ticket, if you knew some of their downfalls you said nothing. We know why. You don't go shooting of your mouth before you get your foot in the door. To come up with reasons why the PLP lost now is like you said Monday morning quaterbacking.

Van Meerbeeck DrSc

Good day to everyone.
I've red the very interesting comments above. Who is going to tell why there has been a government change? I am a political outsider with no specific preference, no cityzenship and no vote, but I am a good observer. Election campaigns are adrenaline tickers and with fair counts of the votes the adrenaline makes the mindset balance tilt one way or the other.
I live more than 10 years in the Bahamas, 24/7 and what I have is my big ears, my eyes, and I hope some capacity to evaluate and conclude.
Ask the Port Lucaya Marketplace business people about the tourist count, look at the never before seen discount deals for Discovery Cruise Line and hotels.
Want more indicators?
I understand the polemyc but does it serve the purpose?
A good workable column, where everyone can have the benefit of, could be: MY ANALYSIS OF THE BAHAMAS - with less words, but building up a treasure of minds and thoughts to the future.
Probably a more useable "Why" will develop after all.
Besides a "vote", ther is also a "voice" of people. Listening to this can be enlightening.

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