Turnquest Slam’s PM’s “Voodoo Statistics”
The government of Prime Minister Perry Christie is involved in “Voodoo economics and Voodoo statistics,” according to Free National Movement Leader Tommy Turnquest, who appeared on the Sunday programme “Jones and Company” on Love 97.
Mr. Turnquest also said it is a fallacy to suggest that the recent agreement signed between the PLP government and Kernzer International has far less concessions than agreements signed under the previous administration.
“That’s the point I want to take up,” he said. “Mr. Christie and members of his government must be engaged in either Voodoo economics or Voodoo statistics…For Mr. Christie to say that the FNM gave 44 percent concessions and he’s giving 14 percent. That is Voodoo statistics as far as I’m concerned.”
Mr. Turnquest slammed what he called the prime minister’s “re-announcement” of Kerzner International’s Atlantis Phase III expansion last Monday.
The initial announcement was made last May, but on Monday night, Mr. Christie announced that the originally projected $600 million investment had mushroomed to $1 billion.
Mr. Jones asserted, “That is nothing to sneeze at; that is something that ought to be announced.”
Conceding, Mr. Turnquest said, “We are extremely pleased that Kerzner has agreed to go along with it. We are pleased that the government has been able to conclude a Heads of Agreement.”
But he continued to demand that the prime minister make public the new agreement.
He also said, “The least the PLP can do, is say ‘we’ve had a change of heart. We said when we were in opposition that we were going to revoke the concessions given to Kerzner International by the FNM government’.”
He said it was a promise made by former Attorney General under the first PLP Government, Paul Adderley.
Mr. Turnquest also charged that the government is paralysed by inactivity.
His declaration came exactly one week after Mr. Christie sat in the same chair and touted his administration’s performance over the last two years.
In fact, the prime minister made a declaration of his own saying that no government in the history of The Bahamas has made decisions in its first two years in office that had as much impact as the decisions made by his administration over the last 24 months.
It was a point that Mr. Turnquest disagreed with; asserting again that the PLP is a “do nothing” government.
“I think that the first 24 months by Mr. Christie’s PLP government by all accounts have been a dismal failure,” he said.
Mr. Turnquest added, “The priorities are jobs, jobs and jobs, but the people want more than just talk. If I had to categorize the first 24 months of the PLP government, I’d categorize it as show without substance, promise without delivery, and talk without action.”
But Mr. Jones also asked, “How is that so, Mr. Turnquest, when the PLP had perhaps its biggest week last week when the prime minister announced a billion-dollar development for Paradise Island?” How can that be so when so many other Heads of Agreement have been signed for many other islands of the Bahamas?”
Mr. Turnquest responded: “Let’s look at where there is full employment. Let’s look at Exuma. Let’s look at San Salvador. Let’s look at Harbour Island. In all those islands, the foundation of the employment situation was laid prior to May 2, 2002. So, the PLP government is only reaping those.
The Prime Minister doesn’t seem to have [any] shame.”
He said he is “very concerned” that the Christie Administration has falsely raised the expectations of Bahamians.
“I dare say that we’ve raised that level of expectation without delivery,” he said.
Touching on fiscal matters, the FNM leader charged that Minister of State for Finance James Smith “does not seem to have the ability to reign in the massive spending and wastage by the PLP government.”
He added, “You will see at the end of this month when the 2004-2005 budget is presented the figures for this fiscal year to date and you will also see the deficit will be the highest it has ever been.”