Davis Not Fit For PM Job

Monday 03rd, February 2014 / 08:49 Published by
Phillip Davis

DPM & Drug Lawyer Phillip ‘Brave’ Davis

There is a lobby within the PLP who believe that Philip “Brave” Davis would make a better prime minister than the incumbent Perry Christie. Sadly, the record suggests that neither of these gentlemen has a clue about government nor governing.

The prime minister continues to live in a La La Land in which he believes that simply declaring himself successful actually translates into success. He even believes that he has a legacy to protect!

Unfortunately, those looking for better in Brave Davis will be sorely disappointed.

The Deputy Prime Minister has been challenged to complete even simple, straight forward infrastructure projects here in New Providence.

His Ministry has found it impossible to keep East Street South of Soldier Road in proper repair and West Bay Street between Blake Road and Old Fort has deteriorated into uneven patchwork of bumps and dips.

It took the Ministry of Works more than 12 months to repair Hurricane Sandy road damage to a small section of West Bay Street opposite the Caves; further along West Bay Street a peculiar “sandbag sea wall” remains unfinished and the crumbled concrete wall at Delaporte remains in shambles months and months after sea swells brought the sea and sand through the wall and onto another section of West Bay Street.

At the other end of our island, Mr Davis has found it impossible to complete two public lavatories at Montagu Beach Park 20 months and counting since the General Elections. This failure leaves fish and conch vendors and their customers at the Montagu Ramp without sanitary bathroom facilities. And, Bahamian families visiting Montagu Beach Park are similarly discommoded.

Then I was dismayed to see Mr Davis’ performance on television a number of days ago. Asked by a reporter to comment on the failure of the PLP to fulfil pre- and post-election promises to deliver on a number of Family Island infrastructural projects, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works insisted that the Government had not forgotten its promises and that relief was on the way.

Speaking specifically on the delayed repairs to roads in North Andros, Mr Davis said the Government was “…on the way of getting, answering and responding to the cries of North Andros and their roads”.

Then the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Renewal said that he would be sitting down with the junior minister in the Ministry of Finance, Mr Halkitis, in the next four or five days to determine whether the Government could “craft a pathway to getting, deciding how we implement that programme”. He actually suggested that the Government had a decision to make on whether it would be going with a “… private public partnership for the works required in North Andros…”.

Mr Davis clearly has no understanding of the Government budget process or of his responsibility as Minister of Works and Urban Renewal. Responsibility for the failure of his Ministry to include funding to cover the costs of road works in North Andros in either of the two Budgets adopted by Parliament since May 2012 rests squarely with him and his Cabinet colleagues.

It is not as if these works were unforeseen. The previous FNM Government had spent some $2.5 million on road repairs at Staniard Creek before the General Election. Next on the schedule for repair were the roads in Mastic Point and Nichols’ Town followed by the roads between Central and North Andros. All that Mr Davis and the new PLP Government had to do was to permit the planned road repairs to continue and bring relief to the residents of North Andros in the shortest time possible.

What is most disturbing is that the DPM revealed in his responses to the reporter that the PLP Government intentionally did not provide funding for these road projects. It seems they actually believe that Family Island roads repairs are projects that the Government might fund through public-private partnership arrangements!

As a long-time Member of Parliament for a Family Island Constituency, the DPM should be ashamed to be so uninformed on these matters. Surely he must know that funding for essential but non-profitable infrastructural development in the Family Islands is the Government’s responsibility!

While the private sector can be enticed to invest in profitable public projects like the development of self-sustaining and profitable major air and sea ports or even busy toll bridges, private sector businesses would not survive if they were to begin investing their profits into funding non-profit producing projects like road repairs on isolated islands with miniscule populations!

I have a suggestion for the Deputy Prime Minister. He might try to convince the prime minister to abolish the two new Ministries created since May 2012 – those supposedly dedicated to Grand Bahama and Financial Services, as neither has a real portfolio of responsibilities. This would permit the Government to use monies allocated to those ministries, totalling close to $14.5 million over the last two budget periods, to undertake and complete the planned road repairs in North Andros and elsewhere in the Family Islands.

After all, when the FNM was voted out of office, there were only three Family Islands with significant outstanding road works: North Andros, South Acklins and Mayaguana. All the other Family Islands had their roads attended to between 2007 and 2012.

But the PLP professed to know a better way. They cancelled plans for the road contractor, already mobilised in Inagua, to simply move over to South Acklins to complete works on the road to Salina Point. They also stopped the plan for the I Group to provide supervisory services for roadwork on Mayaguana – with labour and supplies to be provided by the Government; and they cancelled the plans for North Andros roads. They even delayed, to the extent possible, the repaving of township roads in Central Abaco, a project that is only now underway! Indeed, this Government has so far even failed to open the new terminal at the international airport in Marsh Harbour!

His record of performance on the job so far suggests that the DPM has none of the answers to the worrisome questions troubling PLPs, and indeed the whole country, on what the next three years of incompetent leadership at the helm of government will bring.

By: Geoffrey Cooper

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