Cooper: PM owes Ragged Islanders an apology

Chester Cooper

NASSAU, BAHAMAS –  Chester Cooper, the member of parliament for Exuma and Ragged Island, on Tuesday demanded Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis to apologize to the residents of his constituency for overlooking them when they needed him the most.

In his national address to the nation on Monday night, Minnis announced that government will inject some $8 million to redevelop key public infrastructure buildings on the devastated island, but his announcement came nearly two years after the island was deemed “uninhabitable” following Hurricane Irma.

Cooper believes that Ragged Islanders have been abandoned by the Minnis administration and are still suffering.

“It’s been two years. They’ve come with big promises and fanfare of a ‘green city,’ [but] they’ve delivered very little,” Cooper said yesterday.

“Many of the residents have left as a result of the lack of proper facilities.

“Fishermen go to sea, day in and day out, people get hurt through the normal course of construction or fishing, and there’s absolutely no nurse on the island.”

According to Cooper, Minnis is two years too late, and he believes that the government has focused too much of its efforts on ‘political victimization’ rather than advancing the nation.

“They talk [and] they blame the PLP. They were looking for some smoking gun of PLP malfeasance and they have, in effect, neglected their duty to take care of the Bahamian people,” Cooper said.

Meanwhile following government’s recent announcement that they missed revenue target goals, Cooper said the country’s poor financial state is due to the current administration’s failure to foster economic growth.

“I’ve said over and over to the government that they ought to focus on growing the economy. Economic growth ought to have been their focus, yet they’ve continued a lot of loose talk – calling the Bahamian people corrupt, rather than getting on with the work of the Bahamian people,” Cooper said.

“And, now coincidentally, the IMF has come and said focus on economic growth. And, guess what? It’s now a brilliant idea. Now that people who are foreign to The Bahamas say exactly the same thing the PLP has been saying for the last two years, it’s now a brilliant idea.”

According to Cooper, it is only when he sees the plans of the government turn into physical, operational facilities that he will begin to have hope.