NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman, Senator Fred Mitchell, on Thursday expressed concern about recent comments made by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis during his contribution to the budget debate in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, noting that his remarks about the PLP reflected a “new low”.
“This is a budget debate. It is not rummaging around in the garbage can. The people of the Bahamas want to know what is the future plan for the Bahamas. You tell us your plan and then you govern,” Mitchell advised the prime minister at a press conference held outside the Senate yesterday.
The PLP chairman said the prime minister was following along the lines of the 2017 general election campaign in his budget contribution, as he continued to “sully” the name of the PLP and its legacy by constantly referring to the party as ‘corrupt’.
Mitchell said the prime minister’s excessive comments about the PLP is now ‘tiresome’ and many persons are now turned off from his message.
“Nevertheless, I thought that in his presentation yesterday he had reached a new low,” Mitchell told the media.
The PLP chairman said when someone has a job to serve as prime minister, there is a particular way that one should conduct themselves, and the public does not expect “boorish” behavior.
Such behavior, he said, was displayed by the prime minister in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, especially as it relates to the comments made about the late Sir Lynden Pindling – the first prime minister of an independent Bahamas.
“With regards to Sir Lynden Pindling, it appears as if the FNM cannot forgive Lynden Pindling for defeating them in 1967,” Mitchell said.
“I will say this again; it does not matter what you say or what you do, Sir Lynden Pindling defeated the UBP in 1967 and brought Majority Rule to the country. He brought independence to our country in 1973, that cannot change, and whatever you want to make up and say, that cannot change.”
Mitchell said it was inaccurate for the prime minister to state that Lynden Pindling, a former member of parliament for the South Andros constituency, did nothing for his constituents.
He noted that in 1967 when the PLP was elected to government, there were no roads, no electricity, no water, no bridges and no public education.
“All of those were done since the PLP took over in 1967 and Lynden Pindling was the representative for South Andros, so it is a complete and utter falsehood, and to continue saying it, is just part of this mantra of trying to sully the legacy of a party that has made a full contribution to the development of this country,” Mitchell said.
The PLP chairman said he also found it “boorish” that the prime minister, during his budget contribution, found it necessary to disclose confidential conversations that he held with Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling.
“He gets up on one hand and supposedly praises the governor general for her personal conduct in the office and then in the middle of this praise, he then goes on to disclose conversations he had with the governor general when he was dismissed as leader of the Opposition.
“I was always taught that conversations between the governor general and leaders of the government or the opposition are always confidential conversations; how do you disclose those conversations in public?”
Mitchell noted that according to the conventions of the Bahamas Constitution, the governor general does not offer personal opinions, yet the prime minister disclosed on the floor of parliament conversations that transpired between the two.
“This is just totally inappropriate and this is a man who is the prime minister of our country and is supposed to be someone who is the head our system. Then hard on the heels of [his comments about the governor general], he goes and attacks the lady’s late husband in the most vicious and savage terms.
“It is completely inappropriate behavior, but we are not surprised because he did it before.”
Mitchell advised the prime minister to realize that he now has a role to play, and because he leads the country, he should know how to behave.
“If you want to go down the road of muck and mire, there are plenty people in the Progressive Liberal Party who know where the bones are buried,” Mitchell warned.
“I think the monks at St. Augustine’s [College] would be cringing that this was a student at St. Augustine’s College behaving this way in public office.
“It is absolutely disgraceful.”