NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Carl Culmer yesterday challenged the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) to drop its “smear campaign” and stop playing “petty games”, but instead work with the Minnis administration to improve the lives of the people of The Bahamas.
Speaking to Eyewitness News Online, Culmer said the PLP has attempted to downplay the successes of the Minnis administration and sought to belittle governing members and the leadership.
“At the end of the day, we all need to live here and the type of politics that the opposition would want to run, I will not be a part of that; the petty games, the smear campaign; the belittling of persons in government or in leadership,” the FNM chairman said.
“Bahamians don’t want to see that type of politics any longer, and I don’t engage in that type of politics.”
Culmer continued, “I challenge the opposition to come on board with us and stop trying to downplay all the successes the FNM has had over the last two years.
“Let’s work together.
“That type of politics that they are trying to play, the Bahamian people are not for that.
“As you notice, I have been very quiet, but I have been working behind the scenes trying to make sure that we live up to our obligations that we promised our Bahamian people.
“And we are working along with our people; getting the right people to understand and buy into the programs of the FNM.
“You’ll notice that there is free education coming September for Bahamian students once they meet the requirements. There are free educational opportunities there.
“So, I am proud of this government and what they have done in the short time they have been an administration.”
In February, the opposition parliamentary caucus boycotted the Senate and House of Assembly over a judge’s ruling in which she called into questions the actions of two Cabinet ministers in the Frank Smith extortion and bribery case.
The opposition called for resignations of Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands and Minister of National Security Marvin Dames, but those calls were dismissed by the government.
Opposition and governing members of the House engaged in verbal spar over the matter, resulting in the opposition eventually walking out of the House.
It would be weeks before they returned to parliamentary proceedings.
The opposition walked out of the House again earlier this month, after Speaker of the House Halson Moultrie quashed by an effort by Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis to have parliamentarians reject the mid-year budget communication delivered by Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest.
Davis claimed the communication did not fully comply with the Financial Audit and Administration Act, a claim Turnquest called “nonsense”.
Culmer said while many challenges remain in the country, the opposition should not be “naïve or oblivious” to the progress being made.
He was referring to the recent positive assessments by a certain international rating agency and international financial sector watchdogs, including the European Union.
Last week, The Bahamas avoided being blacklisted as a tax haven by the EU.
In recent months, the government passed a package of bills to reform the financial services sectors to meet the international tax standard requirements of the EU.
Last month, international credit agency Moody’s changed The Bahamas’ economic outlook from negative to stable